Peers as OSCE assessors for junior medical students - a review of routine use: a mixed methods study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Peer-assisted learning is well established in medical education; however, peer tutors rarely act as assessors for the OSCE. In the compulsory, near-peer teaching programme covering basic medical skills at the University of Heidelberg, peer tutors serve as assessors on a formative OSCE. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and acceptance of peer assessors and to survey the perceived advantages and disadvantages of their use. METHODS:In 2016 and 2017 all OSCE peer assessors (third to sixth-year medical students) and all of the peer-assessed students in 2017 (second-year-medical students) were invited to participate in a survey. Both groups were asked to complete a tablet-based questionnaire immediately after the OSCE. Peer assessors were asked to rate eight statements and the peer-assessed students to rate seven statements on a five-point Likert scale. Both were asked to comment on the advantages and disadvantages of peer-assessors. RESULTS:Overall, 74 of 76 peer assessors and 307 of 308 peer-assessed students participated in the study. 94% (67/74) of peer assessors and 90% (276/307) of the peer-assessed group thought that it is important to have peer tutors as assessors. Of the peer assessors, 92% (68/74) felt confident in giving structured feedback during the OSCE and 66% (49/74) felt they had improved their teaching skills. Of the peer-assessed students, 99% (306/307) were satisfied with their peers as OSCE assessors and 96% (292/307) considered the peer feedback during the OSCE as helpful. The participants mentioned structural benefits, such as lower costs, and suggested the quality of the OSCE was higher due to the use of peer assessors. The use of peer assessors was found to be beneficial for the learners in the form of high-quality feedback and an overall reduction in stress. Furthermore, the use of peer assessors was found to be beneficial for the peer assessors (improved teaching and clinical skills). CONCLUSION:From a learner's perspective, the use of peer assessors for a formative OSCE that is part of a near-peer teaching program aimed at junior medical students is favourable for all. A broad implementation of peer assessment in the formative OSCE should be encouraged to investigate effects on quality and stress-reduction.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Basic medical skills such as history taking and physical examination are essential components of clinical work profiles, but nevertheless have been neglected by conventional preclinical curricula. The near-peer-teaching program AaLplus [living anatomy plus] teaches basic medical skills, especially history taking, physical examination, and venepuncture, to preclinical students. It is a highly popular compulsory course in the first four semesters (320 students/year, 9h/semester) at Heidelberg University and ends with a formative Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) during which students receive structured in-depth feedback on their performance. AaLplus is part of the Department of General Practice's longitudinal curriculum for Family Medicine. OBJECTIVES:This study aims to assess whether the AaLplus program has positive effects on students' clinical skill development and subjective confidence in history taking, physical examination and venepuncture. METHODS:From 2015 to 2019, we asked all AaLplus participants to rate the program and self-assess their medical skills on 5-point Likert scales (min 1, max 5). In 4-station OSCEs, trained tutors rated the students' performance in all taught skills using standardized checklists. RESULTS:From 2015 to 2019 n = 1534 questionnaires returned (response rate = 98.6%, 52.7% females). After course completion, students felt able to take a patient's history (mean 3.97, SD = 0.75) and perform physical examinations (means range 3.82-4.36, SDs range 0.74-0.89) as well as venepuncture (mean 4.12, SD = 0.88). A large majority of students claimed they acquired these skills in the AaLplus program. During OSCE, 81.9% passed anamnesis, 93.1% passed physical examination, and 95.4% passed venepuncture (of n = 1556). Students mostly rated the feedback they received during the OSCE as "helpful" or "very helpful" (means for different stations 4.69-4.76, SDs 0.50-0.70). CONCLUSIONS:AaLplus is a positive example of a peer teaching program in the preclinical stage of medical studies. It successfully trains junior students in essential medical abilities and increases their confidence in their skills. A high percentage of students pass the formative OSCE and evaluate it positively. Consistently high ratings indicate the program's routine viability. Further studies are needed to analyze if programs like AaLplus could have an impact on the number of graduates choosing career in Family Medicine.
Project description:Objectives:Continuous formative assessment with appropriate feedback is the pillar of effective clinical teaching and learning. Group Objective Structured Clinical Examination (GOSCE) has been reported as a resource-effective method of formative assessment. The present study aims to describe the development and evaluation of GOSCE as a formative assessment for pre-clerkship medical students. Methods:At the University of Sharjah, GOSCE was introduced to medical students in Years 1, 2, and 3. The GOSCE was conducted as a formative assessment in which groups of 4-5 students were observed while they performed various clinical skills, followed by structured feedback from clinical tutors and peers. GOSCE was evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively and appropriate statistical analysis was applied to evaluate their responses. Results:A total of 232 students who attended the GOSCE responded to the questionnaires. Most of the students and clinical tutors preferred formative GOSCE over individual feedback. Both students and clinical tutors valued the experience as it helped students to identify gaps and to share knowledge and skills among group members. Conclusion:This study found that formative GOSCE provided a valuable and feasible educational opportunity for students to receive feedback about their clinical skills.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Structured peer-led tutorial courses are widespread and indispensable teaching methods that relieve teaching staff and contribute to the development of students' competencies. Nevertheless, despite high general stress levels in medical students and associated increases in psychopathology, specific knowledge of peer tutors' additional burdens is very limited. METHODS:Sixty student near-peer tutors from two structured peer-teaching programmes volunteered to participate. On multiple occasions in three different course sessions, we assessed tutors' subjective stress, affective state, heart rate variability, and salivary cortisol. Additionally, tutors named everyday and course-specific stressors, which were evaluated by means of content analyses. RESULTS:The study participation rate was high (63% of all active tutors). The participating tutors are socially well adapted and resilient individuals. They report a variety of stressors such as time pressure, participant characteristics, teacher role demands, and study requirements, but nevertheless display only moderate psychological and physiological stress that decreases over sessions. Tutors' negative affect in sessions is low; their positive affect is consistently high for senior as well as novice tutors. Tutors rate their courses' quality as high and quickly recover after sessions. CONCLUSIONS:Tutors successfully cope with teaching-associated and everyday life demands. The results corroborate the viability and success of current peer-teaching programmes from the tutors' perspective. This study is the first to comprehensively quantify tutors' stress and describe frequent stressors, thus contributing to the development of better peer teaching programmes and tutor qualification training.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Despite the high burden of musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases, few generalists are comfortable teaching MSK physical examination (PE) skills. Patient Partners® in Arthritis (PP®IA) is a standardized patient educator program that could potentially supplement current MSK PE teaching. This study aims to determine if differences exist in MSK PE skills between non-MSK specialist physician and PP®IA taught students. METHODS: Pre-clerkship medical students attended 2-hour small group MSK PE teaching by either non-MSK specialist physician tutors or by PP®IA. All students underwent an MSK OSCE and completed retrospective pre-post questionnaires regarding comfort with MSK PE and interest in MSK. RESULTS: 83 students completed the OSCE (42 PP®IA, 41 physician taught) and 82 completed the questionnaire (42 PP®IA, 40 physician taught). There were no significant differences between groups in OSCE scores. For all questionnaire items, post-session ratings were significantly higher than pre-session ratings for both groups. In exploratory analysis PP®IA students showed significantly greater improvement in 12 of 22 questions including three of five patient-centred learning questions. CONCLUSIONS: PP®IA MSK PE teaching is as good as non-MSK specialist physician tutor teaching when measured by a five station OSCE and provide an excellent complementary resource to address current deficits in MSK PE teaching.
Project description:Peer-assisted learning (PAL) increasingly features within medical school curricula. While there is evidence of its effectiveness, less is known about how it promotes learning. Cognitive and social congruence between peer-tutor and student have been described as important concepts underpinning teaching and learning in PAL. We employed interpretative phenomenological analysis for an in-depth exploration of how medical students experience PAL sessions.We conducted the study at The University of Manchester within a near-peer scheme aimed at developing clinical skills within clinical clerkship students. We conducted individual interviews with three peer tutors and five students. We undertook interpretive phenomenological analysis of interview transcripts. We subsequently synthesised an account of the study participants' lived experiences of PAL sessions from individual personal accounts to explore how medical students experience peer-assisted learning. This analysis was then used to complement and critique a priori educational theory regarding the mechanisms underlying PAL.Students experienced PAL sessions as a safe and egalitarian environment, which shaped the type and style of learning that took place. This was facilitated by close relationships with peer-tutors, with whom they shared a strong sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. Peer-tutors felt able to understand their students' wider sociocultural context, which was the most important factor underpinning both the PAL environment and tutor-student relationship. Participants contrasted this relative safety, camaraderie and shared purpose of PAL with teaching led by more senior tutors in clinical settings.This study provides a rich description of the important factors that characterise medical students' experiences of PAL sessions. Participants felt a strong sense of support in PAL sessions that took into account their wider sociocultural context. Multiple factors interplayed to create a learning environment and tutor-student relationship that existed in contrast to teaching led by more senior, clinical tutors. The insight generated via IPA complemented existing theory and raised new lines of enquiry to better understand how the peer relationship fosters learning in PAL at medical school. We make recommendations to use insights from PAL for faculty and curriculum development.
Project description:Since 1986 medical students at the University Children's Hospital Essen are trained as peers in a two week intensive course in order to teach basic paediatric examination techniques to younger students. Student peers are employed by the University for one year. Emphasis of the peer teaching program is laid on the mediation of affective and sensomotorical skills e.g. get into contact with parents and children, as well as manual paediatric examination techniques. The aim of this study is to analyse whether student peers are able to impart specific paediatric examination skills as good as an experienced senior paediatric lecturer. 123 students were randomly assigned to a group with either a senior lecturer or a student peer teacher. Following one-hour teaching-sessions in small groups students had to demonstrate the learned skills in a 10 minute modified OSCE. In comparison to a control group consisting of 23 students who never examined a child before, both groups achieved a significantly better result. Medical students taught by student peers almost reached the same examination result as the group taught by paediatric teachers (21,7±4,1 vs. 22,6±3,6 of 36 points, p=0,203). Especially the part of the OSCE where exclusively practical skills where examined revealed no difference between the two groups (7,44±2,15 vs. 7,97±1,87 of a maximum of 16 points, p=0,154). The majority of students (77%) evaluated peer teaching as stimulating and helpful. The results of this quantitative teaching study reveal that peer teaching of selected skills can be a useful addition to classical paediatric teaching classes.
Project description:Background and Objectives: Among the clinical skills needed by all physicians, history taking is one of the most important. The teaching model for peer-assisted history-taking groups investigated in the present study consists of small-group courses in which students practice conducting medical interviews with real patients. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the expectations, experiences, and subjective learning progress of participants in peer-assisted history-taking groups. Methods: The 42 medical student participants completed a 4-month, peer-assisted, elective history-taking course, which both began and ended with a subjective assessment of their interview skills by way of a pseudonymized questionnaire. Measures comprised the students' self-assessment of their interview skills, their expectations of, and their experiences with the course and especially with the peer tutors. Results: Medical students' most important motivations in attending peer-assisted history-taking groups were becoming able to complete a structured medical interview, to mitigate difficult interviewing situations, and to address patients' emotional demands appropriately. By the end of the course, students' self-assessment of both their interview skills and management of emotional issues improved significantly. Students especially benefitted from individual feedback regarding interview style and relationship formation, as well as generally accepted and had their expectations met by peer tutors. Conclusions: To meet the important learning objectives of history-taking and management of emotional issues, as well as self-reflection and reflection of student-patient interactions, students in the field greatly appreciate practicing medical interviewing in small, peer-assisted groups with real patients. At the same time, peer tutors are experienced to be helpful and supportive and can help students to overcome inhibitions in making contact with patients.
Project description:There is a great interest on both a national and international level in promoting cooperation between different occupational groups within the healthcare professions through interprofessional education (IPE) , , . Within this project, a peer teaching course on the puncture of peripheral veins was therefore converted from a course for medical students into an IPE learning unit. Students from different occupational groups were to learn within the context of this course, according to the definition from the World Health Organisation (WHO), with and from each other .This course constituted a small group class in the peer teaching format. The didactic principle was based on the idea that the students were to practice the respective practical skills in pairs and give each other reciprocal feedback. Together with the Department for Health at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BUAS) and the Bern Center of Higher Education of Nusing (BCHEN), the course, which was conducted by the Institute of Medical Education at the University of Bern (IME), was converted into a voluntary IPE pilot project. Students from all three institutions were represented in terms of participants as well as tutors.The course was evaluated very positively by participants, peer tutors and the participating institutions. By means of an OSCE, it could be proven that the course content had been successfully imparted. On the basis of these results, it was determined that the course should be compulsory in the future for students at all three institutions.The evaluation results show the successful conversion of the course into an IPE format within the context of the pilot project. The interactive format of the course created the prerequisite that the students from different professional groups learned with and from each other in actuality, and did not just study the same objectives at the same time as with multiprofessional learning. Cooperation between the three institutions is a cornerstone for the development of a research structure which may examine the effect of IPE in the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Advanced resuscitation skills training is an important and enjoyable part of medical training, but requires small group instruction to ensure active participation of all students. Increases in student numbers have made this increasingly difficult to achieve. METHODS: A single-blind randomised controlled trial of peer-led vs. expert-led resuscitation training was performed using a group of sixth-year medical students as peer instructors. The expert instructors were a senior and a middle grade doctor, and a nurse who is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Instructor.A power calculation showed that the trial would have a greater than 90% chance of rejecting the null hypothesis (that expert-led groups performed 20% better than peer-led groups) if that were the true situation. Secondary outcome measures were the proportion of High Pass grades in each groups and safety incidents.The peer instructors designed and delivered their own course material. To ensure safety, the peer-led groups used modified defibrillators that could deliver only low-energy shocks.Blinded assessment was conducted using an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The checklist items were based on International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) guidelines using Ebel standard-setting methods that emphasised patient and staff safety and clinical effectiveness.The results were analysed using Exact methods, chi-squared and t-test. RESULTS: A total of 132 students were randomised: 58 into the expert-led group, 74 into the peer-led group. 57/58 (98%) of students from the expert-led group achieved a Pass compared to 72/74 (97%) from the peer-led group: Exact statistics confirmed that it was very unlikely (p = 0.0001) that the expert-led group was 20% better than the peer-led group.There were no safety incidents, and High Pass grades were achieved by 64 (49%) of students: 33/58 (57%) from the expert-led group, 31/74 (42%) from the peer-led group. Exact statistics showed that the difference of 15% meant that it was possible that the expert-led teaching was 20% better at generating students with High Passes. CONCLUSIONS: The key elements of advanced cardiac resuscitation can be safely and effectively taught to medical students in small groups by peer-instructors who have undergone basic medical education training.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Quality improvement (QI) is an essential component of modern clinical practice. Front-line professionals offer valuable perspectives on areas for improvement and are motivated to deliver change. In the UK, all junior doctors are expected to participate in QI in order to advance to the next stage of their training. However, UK undergraduates receive no standardized training in QI methods. This is perpetuated within medical schools by a lack of teaching capacity and competing priorities, and may lead to tokenistic engagement with future QI projects. METHODS:We describe a near-peer teaching programme designed to introduce students to QI methods. This pilot study was conceived and delivered in full by junior doctors and used existing resources to ensure high quality teaching content. 111 fifth-year medical students from the University of Cambridge were taught in interactive, participative workshops that encourage them to develop their own QI change ideas and projects. Core topics included the model for improvement, driver diagrams, stakeholder engagement, measurement for improvement and analysing and presenting data. Students completed surveys before and immediately after this intervention to assess their understanding of and confidence in utilizing QI methods. Questionnaires were also completed by junior doctor tutors. RESULTS:Analysis of questionnaires completed before and immediately after the intervention revealed statistically significant improvements in students' self-reported understanding of QI (p <?0.05) and confidence in applying techniques to their own work (p?<?0.05). Students expressed a preference for QI teaching delivered by junior doctors, citing a relaxed learning environment and greater relevance to their stage of training. Tutors reported increased confidence in using QI techniques and a greater willingness to engage with QI in future. CONCLUSIONS:In this single-centre study, near-peer teaching produced significant improvements in students' self-reported understanding of QI and confidence in applying QI methods. Near-peer teaching may constitute a sustainable means of teaching essential QI skills at undergraduate level. Future work must evaluate objective measures of student engagement with and competence in conducting QI.