Efficacy of an Introductory Nail Disorder Learning Module to Supplement the Medical School Curriculum: Experience from One United States Medical School

Skin Appendage Disord. 2023 Jan;9(1):30-33. doi: 10.1159/000527190. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Introduction: Dermatologic and systemic conditions affecting nails are common, but nail pathology education in medical school curricula is limited. We created and evaluated the efficacy of a case-based module on nail pathologies in a medical student cohort from one well-respected US medical school.

Methods: We developed a module consisting of five cases: melanonychia, onychomycosis, nail psoriasis, Beau's lines/onychomadesis, and apparent leukonychia. Participants completed a pre-module questionnaire prior to completing the module and another questionnaire directly following completion.

Results: Sixty-two clinical medical students completed the pre-module questionnaire, the module, and the post-module questionnaire. 59.68% of participants reported they had evaluated 1-5 patients with nail findings. However, 43.55% of study participants denied receiving any lectures on nail pathologies in their medical education. On average, the module took 13.73 min to complete. Student-reported confidence in both identifying and treating common nail disorders significantly increased from to pre- to post-module responses for both identification (p < 0.001) and treatment (p < 0.001) of common nail pathologies.

Discussion/conclusion: Nail findings are prevalent in all medical specialties, and improved medical student education on nail pathologies is necessary. Our introductory, case-based module on pathologies is an effective way to improve student confidence in identifying and treating nail disorders.

Keywords: Case-based learning; Medical education; Nail disease.