Occupational history collection by third-year medical students during internal medicine and surgery inpatient clerkships

J Occup Environ Med. 1998 Aug;40(8):680-4. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199808000-00004.


Occupational history is fundamental for the evaluation of possible workplace influences on health. We reviewed 2,922 initial history-and-physical reports from 137 third-year medical students to examine occupational history collection. Overall reporting frequencies were recorded as the following: industry, 55.8%; occupation, 70.0%; specific occupational exposure, 8.4%; smoking status, 91.4%. Patients younger than 40 years of age and women were significantly less likely than other older patients and men to have notations of occupation and industry. Surgery students were less likely than internal medicine students to collect data for industry (41.6% vs 66.6%, P < 0.001), occupation (57.4% vs 79.7%, P < 0.001), and smoking (88.1% vs 94.0%, P < 0.001). The highest frequencies of notation were those for circulatory and respiratory conditions. No significant differences were noted for student gender, academic quarter, or week of clerkship. Clinical occupational medicine teaching should emphasize the need to collect occupational information from all patients, including women and young persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Occupations*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric