Exploring the Impact of Group Size on KANSAS JOURNAL of MEDIC INE Medical Students’ Perception of Learning and Professional Development During Clinical Rotations
Keywords:undergraduate medical education, clinical clerkships, group structure, professional autonomy
Introduction. Research assessing the size of learning groups in
medical education and how that affects the learner’s experience is
limited. The main goals of the study were to (1) assess the effect of
varying group size on medical students’ subjective experiences during
clinical years. We hypothesized that students in smaller groups were
more likely to have better experiences during clinical rotation than
those in larger groups, and (2) determine if medical students have
desirable experiences working with other medical learners (fellows,
residents, osteopathic students, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners)
during clinical rotations.
Methods. The study utilized a mixed method approach where 153
medical students in their clinical years were asked to complete a
10-item survey. A linear-by-linear association test of trend and
Mann-Whitney U test were used to evaluate the students’ quantitative
data. A multidisciplinary team used an immersion-crystallization
approach to analyze the content of the students’ qualitative data.
Results. There was a 90% (137/153) response rate. Most students
(80%) reported desirable experiences during clinical rotations
because of supportive learning environments, engaging preceptors,
willingness of residents to teach, as well as the opportunity to participate
in patient care. There were significant differences in students’
perceived clinical experiences as a function of group size, where
groups of two students were preferable over groups of four or more.
Conclusions. Varying group size appears to affect students’ clinical
experiences. Kans J Med 2018;11(3):70-75.
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