Medical Student Experiences in Clinical Reproductive Medicine: Dual-Cohort Assessment of a New Learning Module at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Aims: Exposure to a structured curriculum in reproductive medicine during medical school is helpful given the high frequency of fertility and pregnancy-related issues that future physicians will encounter. This study sought to evaluate a new reproductive medicine module for medical students.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Place and Duration of Study: Dublin, Ireland; 2008-2010.
Methodology: A new educational module in reproductive medicine for upper-level medical students was initiated in 2008 at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The module included reproductive endocrinology lectures, laboratory sessions, and direct observation of clinical consultations as a required component of an obstetrics and gynaecology rotation. Students were assigned to this module on the basis of random allocation by departmental administration. The current investigation used an anonymous questionnaire and a MCQ exam to measure academic performance and student acceptance of this module, at launch and again two years later. The first sampling was from the pilot class in 2008 and a second group was evaluated in 2010. No student was in both groups.
Results: 42 of 66 students completed the evaluation in 2008, and 71 of 98 did so in 2010. Mean±SD medical student age and average examination scores were comparable for the two groups. In both samples, most students (95.5%) had no prior lectures on reproductive endocrinology, and most indicated improvement in their level of understanding after the module. Both laboratory and clinical features were scored highly by students.
Conclusion: At present, there is no standardised medical student curriculum for reproductive medicine in Ireland. This report is the first to describe a structured learning experience in this subspecialty area for medical students in Ireland. Additional studies are planned to track knowledge acquisition and career impact specific to reproductive medicine based on this module.