Establish the role of an extracurricular student-organised paediatric conference in the UK medical student population.
Identify areas for development in future student-organised paediatric conferences.
Methods A two-day conference (2013) was organised, as a follow-up to the first-ever conference of medical students with an interest in paediatrics (2012). It was attended by 218 delegates, representing 23 medical schools in the UK. The conference included multi-disciplinary symposia, lectures, and small-group workshops that aimed to enhance theoretical and practical knowledge of paediatric medicine and surgery. Students were also invited to present their research in a poster competition.
Feedback forms were completed by delegates at the end of the conference. These included a mixture of questions with responses as free text, tick-boxes and using the Likert scale (1 is lowest, 5 is highest). Questions focussed on aspects of the conference that delegates considered to be their favourite, reasons for attending, and areas for improvement.
Results The feedback form response rate was 67% (n = 147). Mean overall enjoyment of the conference was high (4.5/5.0). Workshops and overall conference organisation were most frequently listed as favourite aspects. The most common reason for attendance was considering a career in paediatrics (80%). Delegates preferred a greater focus on careers (47%) and clinical skills (48%) for similar events in the future.
Conclusions The conference was well-attended and enjoyed by students from the majority of UK medical schools. A high proportion of delegates considered working in paediatrics. This is reflected by the demand for a greater focus on careers at future events. The conference appears to complement, rather than substitute existing paediatric teaching and revision programmes. Results indicate that clinical skills represent an area of focus for future conferences.
This research shows that students interested in paediatrics enjoy exploring and developing their knowledge in this specialty through an extracurricular student-organised conference. There is additional demand for information on careers and clinical skills for future conferences. These findings will assist internal development of this annual conference and provide insight for other organisations interested in developing extracurricular aspects of undergraduate paediatric education.
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