Education Research: Positive effect of scheduled faculty modeling on clerkship student bedside skills exposure and learning

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To evaluate the effect of scheduled bedside skills modeling for third-year medical students on their neurology clerkship.


During the 2012–2014 academic years, 56 third-year medical students participated in a curricular pilot program involving a scheduled bedside skills modeling experience during the first week of their neurology clerkship, whereas 131 students underwent the typical rotation. The experience consisted of observing a faculty member conduct a comprehensive encounter on a new outpatient. To promote active learning, students were provided an observation guide to document questions and observations. An anonymous survey was conducted at the end of each clerkship block assessing student exposure to bedside skills modeling. Using qualitative thematic analysis, observation guide statements were transcribed and coded into emergent learning themes.


A total of 57.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 43.3%–71.5%) of students in the modeling group reported observing both a comprehensive history and neurologic examination vs 37.5% (95% CI 28.2%–46.8%) in the nonmodeling groups (p = 0.023). A total of 253 observation statements were transcribed and coded from the observation guides. The most common learning themes included (1) strategies for performing a neurologic examination, (2) techniques for eliciting a neurologic history, and (3) importance of detail and thoroughness of the history and examination.


Our study demonstrated that there was a significant increase in structured observation by students of neurologic bedside skills with the inclusion of a scheduled modeling experience, and we provide a qualitative description of the most common learning themes associated with this experience.

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