Do patients' comfort levels and attitudes regarding medical student involvement vary across specialties?

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Medical Teacher (Impact Factor: 1.82). 03/2008; 30(1):48-54. DOI:10.1080/01421590701753443
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Studies on patient comfort with medical student involvement have been conducted within several specialties and have consistently reported positive results. However, it is unknown whether the intrinsic differences between specialties may influence the degree to which patients are comfortable with student involvement in their care.
This is the first study to investigate whether patient comfort varies across specialties.
A total of 625 patients were surveyed in teaching clinics in Family Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Urology, General Surgery, and Paediatrics. Seven patient attitudes and patients' comfort levels based on student gender, level of training, and type of clinical involvement were assessed.
Patients in all specialties shared similar comfort levels and attitudes regarding medical student involvement for the majority of parameters assessed, suggesting that findings in this area may be generalised between specialties. Most of the inter-specialty variation found pertained to patient preference for student gender and the genitourinary specialties.
As there are numerous specialties that have never undergone a similar investigation of their patients, this study has important implications for medical educators in those specialties by supporting their ability to apply the results and recommendations of studies conducted in other specialties to their own.

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