Evaluating pelvic examination training: does faculty involvement make a difference? A randomized controlled trial

Teach Learn Med. 2010 Oct;22(4):293-7. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2010.512831.


Background: As medical schools continue to strive to deliver high quality education with diminishing resources, the need to evaluate long-standing teaching techniques becomes imperative. The use of gynecological teaching associates to teach pelvic exam skills to medical students is an example of an education intervention that deserves thorough evaluation.

Purpose: The objective was to evaluate effects of two pelvic examination training methods on OB/GYN clerkship students with respect to costs, students' performance, and perception.

Method: During the academic year 2007-08, 106 medical students were randomized to receive either pelvic examination training by a gynecological teaching associate (GTA) alone or a standardized patient (SP) accompanied by an obstetrics and gynecology faculty member. Students participated in an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) and completed questionnaires regarding the educational intervention at the end of the clerkship.

Results: The two training methods produced comparable OSCE scores, and students in both groups felt more confident after training and found the training sessions to be valuable. There was a significant cost-savings associated with using GTAs for pelvic exam training.

Conclusions: Faculty time and effort need not be utilized for pelvic exam training exercises, since using GTAs for pelvic exam training produces comparable results.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • Gynecological Examination / methods*
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching
  • Young Adult