Objective: To assess the quality and duration of trauma and orthopedics (T&O) training in medical schools in United Kingdom (UK), and to evaluate final-year students' self-perceived level of competence in essential T&O skills.
Design: This was a survey-based study of final-year medical students that attended 1-day undergraduate T&O courses held between Feb'17 and Feb'19. Outcome measures were duration and perceived quality of undergraduate T&O placements, students' self-rated competence in essential T&O skills, and impact of teaching methods on their subjective future competence.
Setting: Four courses held at education centers in 3 different locations in UK (London, Nottingham, and Leeds) PARTICIPANTS: All 414 course attendees from 13 UK medical schools completed the questionnaire.
Results: 19.3% of students had not experienced a placement in T&O. Mean duration of T&O placements was 2.5 weeks. 37.4% described their training as "poor". Majority of students attended 1-5 sessions of: lectures (50.5%), small group teaching (58.7%), trauma meetings (58.7%), clinics (65.7%), and theatres (72.5%). Lowest competency scores were reported in management of T&O emergencies, fracture management, and interpretation of T&O radiographs. Self-rated competence in essential T&O skills was significantly higher in students with previous experience of a T&O placement (p < 0.05). There was a strongly positive correlation between small group teaching attendance and perceived competence in management of T&O patients in different clinical settings (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Medical schools in UK are currently failing to adequately train medical graduates to manage T&O patients, with students reporting low competency scores in all basic T&O skills. To mitigate the current situation, a minimum duration of a T&O placement for all students must be implemented nationally. Educational boards and medical schools must work in collaboration to improve the delivery of undergraduate T&O curriculum, the structure of the clinical T&O placement, and efficacy of the commonly encountered learning environments.
Keywords: Medical Knowledge; Patient Care; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; learning environment; medical school; orthopedics; student education; trauma; undergraduate training.
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