Associations between medical student log data and clerkship learning outcomes

Teach Learn Med. 2012;24(4):298-302. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2012.715263.


Background: Largely due to regulatory requirements, medical students increasingly document patient encounters in logs. Prior studies demonstrated value in achieving course objectives but not regarding objective learning outcomes.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to assess the associations between students' log data and clerkship outcomes.

Methods: We assessed ambulatory, internal medicine-pediatrics clerkship logs. Students recorded patients' diagnoses, preceptor's teaching content and performing histories and physicals (H&P). We examined associations between log data and National Board of Medical Examiners Subject Exams (NBME), Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCE), and clinical evaluations.

Results: All 272 students completed logs (M diagnoses = 146.5, SD = 24.9). In univariate analysis number of diagnoses, preceptors' teaching patient management and performing H&P independently correlated with OSCE scores (r = .13-.24, p < .05). NBME scores correlated with diagnoses, performing H&P independently (r = .13-.18, p < .05). Teaching patient management, diagnoses, performing H&P independently were associated with clinical evaluations (all ps < .05). Regressions demonstrated that performing physicals independently was associated with NBME and OSCE scores (p < .05, R (2) = .03 and .05, respectively). Teaching disease management and pediatric diagnoses were associated with clinical evaluations (p < .05) in medicine and pediatrics, respectively.

Conclusions: Aspects of teaching, increased clinical involvement, and student autonomy were associated with clerkship performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status*
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Medical Records*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Preceptorship
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States