[Teaching in Perspective - How Medical Students Assess Their Practical Clinical Training in Surgery]

Zentralbl Chir. 2017 Feb;142(1):46-53. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-116326. Epub 2016 Sep 27.
[Article in German]


Introduction: Practical clinical expertise is a crucial part of medical professionalism. Several studies have shown that medical students are poorly trained in practical skills during their undergraduate training. Even the students rated their own expertise in practical skills as poor. The amendments to the German Regulating Licenses in Practical Medicine are intended to strengthen practical clinical training. The aim of the present study is to use focus groups to analyse practical clinical training with respect to organisation, difficulties and problems from the learners' perspective. Methods: The present qualitative study uses the focus group approach. Each focus group was composed of a maximum of 6 students per group with the same level of training. Using a standardised interview manual, a total of 31 students and four first-year residents participated in the study. Data interpretation was performed using structured qualitative content analysis. Results: The present work demonstrates that students of all levels of training greatly value their training in practical clinical expertise, especially in clinical skills. Due to the lack of defined learning objectives for practical skills, students training in clinical internships and medical registrar positions are highly dependent on the motivation and interest of the individual clinical teacher and the learner himself. Students struggle to estimate their actual level of expertise due to the lack of defined learning objectives. This is exacerbated by the fact that students rarely receive feedback about their expertise. Students complain that many teachers do not know the level of training required of their students. Conclusion: The definition of basic and specific learning objectives and the communication of this between learners and teachers is an essential part of practical clinical training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Curriculum / standards
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician Assistants / education
  • Physician Assistants / psychology
  • Physician Assistants / standards
  • Preceptorship* / standards
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Teaching*