Medical Students’ Clinical Skills Do Not Match Their Teachers’
Expectations: Survey at Zagreb University School of Medicine, Croatia
Aim To evaluate self-assessed level of clinical skills of graduating medical
students at Zagreb University School of Medicine and compare them with
clinical skill levels expected by their teachers and those defined by a criterion
Method The study included all medical students (n = 252) graduating from
the Zagreb University School of Medicine in the 2004-2005 academic year
and faculty members (n = 129) involved in teaching clinical skills. The parti-
cipants completed anonymous questionnaire listing 99 clinical skills divided
into nine groups. Students were asked to assess their clinical skills on a 0-5
scale, and faculty members were asked to assess the minimum necessary level
of clinical skills expected from graduating medical students, using the same
0-5 scale. We compared the assessment scores of faculty members with stu-
dents’ self-assessment scores. Participants were grouped according to their
descriptive characteristics for further comparison.
Results The response rate was 91% for students and 70% for faculty mem-
bers. Students’ self-assessment scores in all nine groups of clinical skills
ranged from 2.2 ± 0.8 to 3.8 ± 0.5 and were lower than those defined by the
criterion standard (3.0-4.0) and those expected by teachers (from 3.1 ± 1.0
to 4.4 ± 0.5) (P<0.001 for all). Students who had additional clinical skills
training had higher scores in all groups of skills, ranging from 2.6 ± 0.9 to
4.0 ± 0.5 (P<0.001 for all). Male students had higher scores than female stu-
dents in emergency (P<0.001), neurology (P = 0.017), ear, nose, and throat
(P = 0.002), urology (P = 0.003), and surgery skills (P = 0.002). Teachers’
expectations did not vary according to their sex, academic position, or spe-
Conclusion Students’ self-assessed level of clinical skills was lower than that
expected by their teachers. Education during clinical rotations is not focused
on acquiring clinical skills, and additional clinical skills training has a positive
influence on students’ self-assessed level of clinical skills. There was no con-
sensus among teachers on the required level of students’ clinical skills.
> Received: December 13, 2005
> Accepted: December 30, 2005
Medical students, Zagreb
University School of Medicine,
> Croat Med J. 2006;47:169-75
Mario Sičaja, Dominik Romić, Željko Prka
> Correspondence to:
Sičaja et al: Clinical Skills Teaching
ing undergraduate medical education, which in-
dicates the need for implementing new solutions
to help both students and teachers to improve
clinical skills teaching.
We thank our colleagues and teachers who were
willing to participate in this study. We thank Dr Ivan
Krešimir Lukić for his help with statistical analysis, Prof
Marin Nola for his contribution during the writing of
paper, and Prof Matko Marušić for moral and financial
support during the whole process. Also, we would like to
thank Ljiljana Lekić from the Student Affairs Office for
assistance with administrative matters and Prof Anton
Šmalcelj, Vice-Dean for Undergraduate Education for
allowing us to perform the survey during graduation ex-
ams at the Zagreb School of Medicine.
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