Basic Knowledge of Contraception and Emergency Contraception is Low Among Recent Medical School Graduates

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate the knowledge of recent medical school graduates regarding contraception and emergency contraception

BACKGROUND:

The Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) medical student educational objectives includes contraception and emergency contraception among expected competencies, but little information exists on whether these objectives are being met.

METHODS:

A 28-question survey of basic contraception knowledge was created, including questions about LARC methods (12 questions), Tier 2 methods (10 questions) and emergency contraception (4 questions). Two consecutive intern classes were evaluated during hospital orientation.

RESULTS:

157 interns completed the survey, representing 73 medical schools. The overall correct score was 51.8%. Subscores were 56.7% for LARC methods, 62% for tier 2 methods, and 22.2% for emergency contraception. Men scored lower than women overall, 50% vs. 60.4%, P<.001, and on all subscores. Men were also less comfortable with contraceptive knowledge than women, 5.8 vs. 6.7 on a 10-point Likert scale, P=.006. Osteopathic physicians scored lower than allopathic physicians on overall score, 49.6% vs. 54.6%, P=.04, and emergency contraception, 12.5% vs. 25%, P=.01, but not on LARC, tier 2 methods or self-reported comfort. Those with high self-reported comfort levels scored higher on overall score, LARC and tier 2 methods, but not on emergency contraception. There was no difference in overall score when evaluated by amount of training received during medical school.

DISCUSSION:

Despite ubiquitous prescribing, medical school graduates have only rudimentary knowledge of contraception, particularly emergency contraception. Individual medical schools should evaluate their programs to determine how to improve knowledge of these important topics.

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