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Clinical skills progress evaluation during internal medicine clerkships: how much do students gain?
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  • Luka Oblak,
  • Klara Fluher,
  • Radovan Hojs,
  • Breda Balon,
  • Sebastjan Bevc,
  • Monika Sobočan
Luka Oblak
Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor in Slovenia
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Klara Fluher
Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor in Slovenia
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Radovan Hojs
Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor in Slovenia
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Breda Balon
Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor in Slovenia
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Sebastjan Bevc
Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor in Slovenia
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Monika Sobočan
University Medical Centre Maribor
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Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives Clinical skills are important for medical students and doctors for their everyday work and faculties are expected to teach and assess clinical skills and other competencies that medical students should have at the beginning of their career. Among competencies required for a young doctor to begin with his or her career are several clinical skills. The aim of our study was to evaluate in a low-stakes formative assessment the clinical skills level improvement of finishing medical students prior to and after their 9-week Internal medicine clerkship. Method 88 final year medical students participated in the study prior and after their 9-week Internal medicine clerkship. On the first day and on their last day of clerkship, they were assessed in three different clinical skills – history taking, venipuncture and rectal examination. Clinical skills were performed on artificial simulators (model of an arm and a prostate and rectal examination simulator). Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) was used to evaluate students. Assessors used a prepared checklist for each clinical skill. Results A significant improvement was detected in total OSCE (p=0.001), history taking (p=0.001) and rectal examination results (p=0.023) on the second testing. Moreover, reduction of time needed to complete the task was also detected in all clinical skills. Conclusion Final year medical students have a lot of practical skills and are well prepared for the clinical environment. They are prepared to perform tested clinical skills on their own, without supervision. As there is still room for improvement, additional activities should be considered to improve performance in the clinical skill. In addition, there is less evidence on assessment of clinical skills progress so further activities should be considered.