3 for the Price of 1: Teaching Chest Pain Risk Stratification in a Multidisciplinary, Problem-based Learning Workshop

West J Emerg Med. 2018 May;19(3):613-618. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.12.36444. Epub 2018 Mar 8.


Introduction: Chest pain is a common chief complaint among patients presenting to health systems and often leads to complex and intensive evaluations. While these patients are often cared for by a multidisciplinary team (primary care, emergency medicine, and cardiology), medical students usually learn about the care of these patients in a fragmented, single-specialty paradigm. The present and future care of patients with chest pain is multidisciplinary, and the education of medical students on the subject should be as well. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary, problem-based learning workshop to teach third-year medical students about risk assessment for patients presenting with chest pain, specifically focusing on acute coronary syndromes.

Methods: To create an educational experience consistent with multidisciplinary team-based care, we designed a multidisciplinary, problem-based learning workshop to provide medical students with an understanding of how patients with chest pain are cared for in a systems-based manner to improve outcomes. Participants included third-year medical students (n=219) at a single, tertiary care, academic medical center. Knowledge acquisition was tested in a pre-/post-retention test study design.

Results: Following the workshop, students achieved a 19.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] [17.3-22.2%]) absolute increase in scores on post-testing as compared to pre-testing. In addition, students maintained an 11.1% (95% CI [7.2-15.0%]) increase on a retention test vs. the pre-test.

Conclusion: A multidisciplinary, problem-based learning workshop is an effective method of producing lasting gains in student knowledge about chest pain risk stratification.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / therapy
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Male
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*