Aims There is a pressing need to improve health outcomes for our nation’s children and young people. This, together with the considerable variation in child health teaching across UK medical schools, has led to increasing support for a national undergraduate curriculum for child health. This study aimed to establish clinicians’ views on what the core components of an undergraduate child health curriculum should be.
Methods This study comprised three rounds. During Round 1, a range of clinicians involved in child health were asked what should be included in the child health curriculum. They included paediatricians, general practitioners, paediatric and general practice trainees, specialist nurses and medical students. All suggestions were treated equally and collated into a single list of key knowledge, skills and attitudes. In Round 2, participants ranked each of the suggestsions using a Likert scale (1–5). The mean, median and interquartile range for each time was calculated. In Round 3, these pooled results were shared with participants, who were then invited to re-rank the items, using the Delphi methodology.
Results 80 people contributed to Round 1 within the allocated timeframe. Every UK medical school was represented. 56/80 (70%) participants voted on the collated suggestions in Round 2. 48/56 (86%) voted again for Round 3. Items scoring highly (mean >4) included knowledge of normal development and growth, recognition and initial management of the sick child and prescribing. Knowledge of global health outcomes and NHS structures for child health had a mean of <3. There was a wide range of opinions about whether the curriculum should include more generic items with relevance to child health such as performing a literature search to answer a clinical question and quality improvement.
Conclusions This study identifies core knowledge, skills and attitudes in child health deemed essential for all medical students. These components will form the basis for the national undergraduate curriculum in child health. The items were generated by a wide range of clinicians, academics and students and involved all UK medical schools, helping to maximise the curriculum’s utility.
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