Background: The clinical epidemiology ward round (CEWR) is an educational tool for integrating the teaching of epidemiology with clinical paediatrics. It aims to facilitate the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote the effective application of epidemiological insights into routine clinical practice. This paper describes experience of the CEWR in a UK medical school and initial student responses to it.
Methods: Since 1995, the CEWR has formed an integral part of the clinical teaching given to all final phase medical students during their eight-week child health course at the University of Glasgow. It took place in a general paediatric ward of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. Groups of up to seven students were taught by a clinical epidemiologist with a strong research interest, as well as clinical experience, in child health. Each round lasted approximately 90 minutes and the teaching style was informal and interactive. At the end of the child health course, students were asked a series of questions relating to the CEWR's educational objectives.
Results: The evaluation indicated that the CEWR had been well received by students, 85 per cent of whom said it was an excellent or good idea in principle, and 71 per cent of whom said it worked well in practice. Most students seemed unconvinced about its role in reinforcing epidemiological knowledge or in clinical skill development.
Conclusion: The CEWR requires further development but offers a potentially inexpensive, effective and enjoyable vehicle for integrating the teaching of two previously separate components of the curriculum.