Introduction Previous work from this institution showed high recruitment rates to paediatrics. Over the last 2 years the local clinical medicine course has undergone a number of changes with a shift in the methods of teaching and delivery. The paediatrics placements Year 5 have been shortened from 6 to 3 weeks. At the same time, the number of clinical students in each attachment has increased, which has increased the competition for clinical opportunities.
Aims To review the Year 5 students’ experience in their paediatric placement, and assess their wider concerns about achieving the required paediatric curriculum outcomes.
Methods A Google Form questionnaire was designed to – 1) quantify clinical experience in the paediatrics placement, 2) explore expectations and concerns of Year 5 students. The online survey was sent to all Year 5 students undertaking the new Year 5 programme. Responses were collected as students completed their placements.
Results The survey received 63 responses, representing approximately 33% of the year group. Of the respondents, 29 had completed their paediatrics placement. 28 (98%) of these students did not feel that they had sufficient paediatrics exposure in their course. Over the 3 weeks most students attended 3–5 paediatric clinics and 3–5 paediatric ward rounds during placements. Worryingly, 6/29 students (20%) reported no understanding of any of the recommended paediatric learning objectives surveyed. Students raised concerns regarding sufficient clinical exposure, to acquire clinical competencies to pass final examinations, and work as a foundation doctor in the future. Over 90% of responding students indicated that they wanted further paediatric experience through extra taught seminars/revision days, alongside additional clinical opportunities including supervisions and clinical slots at weekends.
Conclusion It appears that reduced acute hospital paediatrics placement has not had a major effect on the number of students who are interested in paediatrics as a specialty. Students were concerned about the impact of this reduction in clinical exposure. In the short term the university student paediatrics society, working alongside consultants and paediatric trainees, will develop events to supplement the current course.
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