Medical students' views of clinical environments.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Monitoring the quality of clinical learning environments (CLEs) is immensely important in medical education. Objective indicators of the quality of the CLE can be used to measure learner perceptions and to inform educational improvements; however, many established tools were not designed for use in clinical settings and are not theoretically grounded. Our aim was to apply a new tool to the new context of a UK setting to explore the perceptions of senior medical students in a number of different CLEs. Monitoring the quality of clinical learning environments is immensely important in medical education METHODS: The four-factor Undergraduate Clinical Education Environment Measure (UCEEM) was translated into English, and used to gather final-year medical students' perceptions of four different specialties they had rotated through: Emergency Medicine (EM), General Surgery (GS), Medicine for the Elderly (ME), and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G). The UCEEM was distributed in paper form. Students were asked to complete it in relation to two of the four specialties.

RESULTS/FINDINGS

Year-5 medical students (n = 132) returned a completed UCEEM. For opportunities to learn in and through work experience EM was reported the most positively. ME was perceived to be the most prepared for student entry. Students reported being well received by staff and made to feel part of the team within GS, EM and ME, but less so in O&G.

DISCUSSION

UCEEM appears to be a useful tool for evaluating medical student perceptions of CLEs. Theoretically robust, UCEEM is straightforward to administer and to score. It has the potential to be used by time-pressured educators to collect baseline and comparative data for evaluation and improvement purposes.

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