Maximising student preparation for clinical teaching placements

Clin Teach. 2011 Jun;8(2):88-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-498X.2011.00440.x.


Background: With the increasing emphasis on ambulatory health care, clinical educators need to ensure that students are sufficiently prepared to maximise learning opportunities during placements in ambulatory settings.

Context: This study focuses on third-year medical students entering urban or rural clinical placements at an Australian graduate entry medical school.

Innovation: All rural and a subset of urban students received intensive training in taking Papanicolaou (Pap) smears prior to starting the clinical placement. Training involved gynaecological teaching associates, active practice and real-time feedback. Evaluation included workshop feedback, reflection on effectiveness during the placement, and comparison of trained and untrained students' recorded clinical experience of taking Pap smears.

Implications: Students given pre-placement training praised their learning experience, and on average took more Pap smears during their placement than did their untrained peers. The difference, however, did not reach statistical significance. The pre-placement teaching workshop on a difficult skill was popular and worthy of further study regarding other challenging clinical skills.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Rural Population
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Urban Population
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*