Medical Student Psychiatry Examination Performance at VA and Non-VA Clerkship Sites

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The authors examined the effects of medical student assignment to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center inpatient and outpatient psychiatry clerkship sites versus other university and community sites on the performance outcome measure of National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subject examination scores.


NBME psychiatry scores were compared for stratified random samples of 70 students each for inpatient and outpatient VA and non-VA sites, controlling for baseline clinical knowledge as reflected by second year Human Behavior course scores.


No significant differences were demonstrated in NBME scores between VA and non-VA sites for either inpatient or outpatient programs.


Assessed students rotating through several VA clinical sites were as well prepared for NBME subject examinations as those assigned to other sites. Additional measures of educational outcome for VA sites are recommended to assess and enhance clinical education provided by the VA and to strengthen collaboration with university-based medical student teaching programs.

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