Background: Ward rounds form an integral part of Internal Medicine teaching. This study aimed to determine the trainees' opinions regarding various aspects of their ward rounds, including how well they cover their learning needs, how they would like the rounds to be conducted, and differences of opinion between medical students and postgraduates.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a total of 134 trainees in Internal Medicine, comprising medical students, interns, residents and fellows, who were asked to fill in a structured, self-designed questionnaire. Most of the responses required a rating on a scale of 1-5 (1 being highly unsatisfactory and 5 being highly satisfactory).
Results: Teaching of clinical skills and bedside teaching received the lowest overall mean score (Mean +/- SD 2.48 +/- 1.02 and 2.49 +/- 1.12 respectively). They were rated much lower by postgraduates as compared to students (p < 0.001). All respondents felt that management of patients was the aspect best covered by the current ward rounds (Mean +/- SD 3.71 +/- 0.72). For their desired ward rounds, management of patients received the highest score (Mean +/- SD 4.64 +/- 0.55), followed by bedside examinations (Mean +/- SD 4.60 +/- 0.61) and clinical skills teaching (Mean +/- SD 4.50 +/- 0.68). The postgraduates desired a lot more focus on communication skills, counselling and medical ethics as compared to students, whose primary focus was teaching of bedside examination and management. A majority of the respondents (87%) preferred bedside rounds over conference room rounds. Even though the duration of rounds was found to be adequate, a majority of the trainees (68%) felt there was a lack of individual attention during ward rounds.
Conclusions: This study highlights important areas where ward rounds need improvement in order to maximize their benefit to the learners. There is a need to modify the current state of ward rounds in order to address the needs and expectations of trainees.