Evaluation of educational methods in dermatology and confidence levels: A national survey of UK medical students

Yi Zhen Chiang, Kian Tjon Tan, Yi Ning Chiang, Susan M. Burge, Christopher E M Griffiths, Julian L. Verbov

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    Background The high prevalence of skin conditions makes dermatology education an essential part of the undergraduate medical curriculum. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of different educational methods on confidence levels in dermatology among UK medical students. Methods A survey-based study was carried out to establish: (i) educational experience in dermatology, and (ii) confidence levels in the British Association of Dermatologists core curriculum learning outcomes. Measures of confidence were rated using a five-point Likert scale. Results Completed questionnaires were obtained from 449 final-year medical students at 14 medical schools (12.9% of 3485 final-year UK medical students). Students who received teaching from dermatologists (P≤0.01), dermatology specialist nurses (P≤0.001), and expert patients (P≤0.001) reported higher levels of confidence. Learning in clinical settings (P≤0.001) and small-group settings (P≤0.001) was associated with higher confidence levels. Student-selected components in dermatology were associated with higher confidence levels (P≤0.001). Confidence levels were consistently lower in dermatological emergencies compared with chronic conditions, reflecting the lack of clinical exposure. Overall, 64.9% of students were at least adequately confident in assessing, and 52.0% were similarly confident in managing patients with skin conditions. Conclusions The findings of this study show that specialist clinical experiences and small-group learning had the most significant influence on confidence levels in dermatology. Many medical students nearing qualification were less than adequately confident in their abilities to assess and manage skin conditions, suggesting that a greater emphasis on dermatology is required. © 2011 The International Society of Dermatology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)198-202
    Number of pages4
    JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


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