Attitudes, Experiences, and Interest in Geriatrics of First-Year Allopathic and Osteopathic Medical Students

Allopathic Program, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48864, USA.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Impact Factor: 4.57). 02/2008; 56(2):339-44. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01541.x
Source: PubMed


A cross-sectional survey was designed to assess interest in geriatric medicine of allopathic and osteopathic medical students and to determine whether their career interests were related to past experiences with and current attitudes toward older adults. The study was conducted at an allopathic and osteopathic medical school with 231 first-year medical students. Experiences with elderly people were measured using survey questions assessing amount and quality of experiences with grandparents, as well as experiences caring for, volunteering with, or having a paid position working with older adults. Attitudes were measured using the University of California at Los Angeles Geriatric Attitudes Scale, revised for applicability to medical students. Interest in geriatrics was measured using a 4-point scale. Overall, students expressed positive attitudes toward older adults. Past experiences, including positive relationships with older relatives (P<.001) and experiences providing care for older adults (P<.001), were related to more-positive attitude scores toward elderly people. Students had low interest in geriatric medicine, but those with more-positive attitudes were more likely to consider geriatrics as a career (odds ratio=8.18, P<.001). Furthermore, having prior experience caring for older persons increased interest in the field (P=.001). No significant differences were found between allopathic and osteopathic student interest in geriatrics or attitudes toward older adults. Efforts toward increasing the pool of future geriatricians and increasing positive attitudes toward older patients could be improved by providing quality experiences caring for and interacting with older adults before medical school training.

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    • "For this reason, it is of particular importance that some necessary features are taught during medical education related to the diagnosis and treatment of older people [14]. International studies were able to demonstrate a correlation between medical students’ knowledge, attitudes, experience and interest regarding ageing and older people [14-18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Demographic development is accompanied by an increasingly aging society. Concerning medical education, the treatment of older people as well as the scientific research and exploration of ageing aspects in the coming years need to be considered. Aim of the study was to ascertain medical students’ knowledge, interest, and attitudes regarding older patients and geriatric medicine. Methods Each participant completed a self-designed questionnaire. This questionnaire was based on three validated internationally recognised questionnaires (“Facts on Aging Quiz – FAQ”, “Expectations Regarding Aging – ERA” and the “Aging Semantic Differential – ASD”). The inquiry and survey were performed at the beginning of the summer term in 2012 at the University of Regensburg Medical School. Results A total of n = 184/253 (72.7%) students participated in this survey. The results of the FAQ 25+ showed that respondents were able to answer an average of M = 20.4 of 36 questions (56.7%) correctly (Median, Md = 21; SD ±6.1). The personal attitudes and expectations of ageing averaged M = 41.2 points on the Likert-scale that ranged from 0 to 100 (Md = 40.4; SD ±13.7). Respondents’ attitudes towards the elderly (ASD 24) averaged M = 3.5 points on the Likert-scale (range 1–7, Md 3.6, SD ±0.8). Conclusions In our investigation, medical students’ knowledge of ageing was comparable to previous surveys. Attitudes and expectations of ageing were more positive compared to previous studies. Overall, medical students expect markedly high cognitive capacities towards older people that can actively prevent cognitive impairment. However, medical students’ personal interest in medicine of ageing and older people seems to be rather slight.
    BMC Research Notes 07/2014; 7(1):472. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-7-472
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    • "However, older adults receive the majority of their healthcare from primary care physicians [7], who report pessimistic attitudes toward dementia care [8], including difficulty establishing a definitive diagnosis [9], discomfort discussing diagnosis and care options [6], and lack of community and social service referral information [9,10]. Unfortunately, a majority of medical students report similar barriers with limited knowledge about aging [11], mixed attitudes toward older adults [12,13], and limited interest in pursuing geriatrics or dementia care [13,14]. Early exposure may increase comfort with older patients [15,16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background As life expectancy increases, dementia incidence will also increase, creating a greater need for physicians well-trained to provide integrated geriatric care. However, research suggests medical students have limited knowledge or interest in pursuing geriatric or dementia care. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the PAIRS Program and its effectiveness in enhancing medical education as a service-learning activity and replication model for the Buddy ProgramTM. Methods Between 2007 and 2011, four consecutive classes of first year Boston University School of Medicine students (n = 45; 24 ± 3 years, 58% female, 53% White) participated in a year-long program in which they were paired with a patient with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Assessments included pre- and post-program dementia knowledge tests and a post-program reflective essay. Results Program completion was 100% (n = 45). A paired-sample t-test revealed a modest improvement in dementia knowledge post-program (p < 0.001). Using qualitative coding methods, 12 overarching themes emerged from the students’ reflective essays, such as observing care partner burden, reporting a human side to AD, reporting experiences from the program that will impact future clinical practice, and obtaining a greater understanding of AD. Conclusions Quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that the PAIRS Program can enhance the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes regarding geriatric healthcare in future generations of physicians, a skill set that is becoming increasingly relevant in light of the rapidly aging population. Furthermore, results suggest that The Buddy ProgramTM model can be successfully replicated.
    BMC Medical Education 08/2012; 12(1):80. DOI:10.1186/1472-6920-12-80 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    • "Hinrichsen et al., 2000; Pachana et al., 2006). In an effort to reduce potential barriers to training in geropsychology and geriatrics, several studies have also examined potential mechanisms for overcoming student bias against study in aging (Koder and Helmes, 2008; Voogt et al., 2008). Clinical training itself is also becoming more internationalized, with more opportunities to obtain specialized geropsychology training. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a worldwide shortage of mental health professionals trained in the provision of mental health services to older adults. This shortage in many countries is most acutely felt in the discipline of psychology. Examining training programs in clinical psychology with respect to training content may shed light on ways to increase interest among students and improve practical experiences in working with older adults. A large multinational survey of geropsychology content in university-based clinical and counselling psychology training programs was conducted in 2007 in the U.S.A., Australia, and Canada. Both clinical/counseling programs and internship/practicum placements were surveyed as to staffing, didactic content and training opportunities with respect to geropsychology. Survey response rates varied from 15% in the U.S.A. (n = 46), 70% in Australia (n = 25) to 91.5% in Canada (n = 22). The U.S.A. and Australia reported specialist concentrations in geropsychology within graduate clinical psychology training programs. More assessment and psychopathology courses in the three countries were cited as having ageing content than psychotherapy courses. Many non-specialist programs in all three countries offered course work in geropsychology, and many had staff who specialized in working clinically with an older population. Interest in expanding aging courses and placements was cited by several training sites. Recruiting staff and finding appropriate placement opportunities with older adult populations were cited as barriers to expanding geropsychology offerings. In light of our results, we conclude with a discussion of innovative means of engaging students with ageing content/populations, and suggestions for overcoming staffing and placement shortcomings.
    International Psychogeriatrics 09/2010; 22(6):909-18. DOI:10.1017/S1041610210000803 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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