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Verification and feedback for medical students: an observational study during general practice rotations


Purpose of the study A general practice and family medicine rotation is mandatory as part of undergraduate medical education. However, little is known about the student-teacher interaction in this specific setting of ambulatory teaching. In this study we analysed how frequently preceptors verified students' history taking and clinical examination skills and how often they gave feedback. The type of feedback given was also categorised.

Methods From April to December 2012, 410 individual patient consultations were observed in 12 teaching practices associated with the Philipps University Marburg, Germany. Material was collected using structured field-note forms and videotaping. Descriptive data analysis was performed. Informed, written consent was provided by all participants.

Results We analysed 410 consultations which lasted 14.8 min on average. In 130 (31.7%) consultations students took the patient's medical history; 124 (95.4%) of these were verified by the general practitioner (GP). Physical examination was performed by students in 202 (49.3%) of consultations; 169 (81.9%) of these were verified by the GP. Feedback occurred in 132 (32.2%) of the 410 patient consultations. Feedback was mostly non-specific and positive (68.9%), and occurred during consultation with the patient present. Specific, negative feedback also occurred relatively frequently (29.5%). Specific, positive and non-specific, negative responses were rarely given.

Conclusions GPs should give feedback more frequently and when doing so, focus on specific feedback. GPs should be further instructed in different feedback techniques.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)

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