Improving the Clinical Skills Performance of Graduating Medical Students Using “WISE OnCall,” a Multimedia Educational Module

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Abstract

Introduction

Transitions to residency programs are designed to maximize quality and safety of patient care, as medical students become residents. However, best instructional or readiness assessment practices are not yet established. We sought to study the impact of a screen-based interactive curriculum designed to prepare interns to address common clinical coverage issues (WISE OnCall) on the clinical skills demonstrated in simulation and hypothesize that performance would improve after completing the module.

Methods

Senior medical students were recruited to participate in this single group prestudy/poststudy. Students responded to a call from a standardized nurse (SN) and assessed a standardized patient (SP) with low urine output, interacted with a 45-minute WISE OnCall module on the assessment and management of oliguria, and then evaluated a different SP with low urine output of a different underlying cause. Standardized patients assessed clinical skills with a 37-item, behaviorally anchored checklist measuring clinical skills (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC], 0.55–0.81). Standardized nurses rated care quality and safety and collaboration and interprofessional communication using a 33-item literature-based, anchored checklist (ICC, 0.47–0.52). Standardized patient and SN ratings of the same student performance were correlated (r, 0.37–0.62; P < 0.01). Physicians assessed clinical reasoning quality based on the students' patient encounter note (ICC, 0.55–0.68), ratings that did not correlate with SP and SN ratings. We compared pre-post clinical skills performance and clinical reasoning. Fifty-two medical students (31%) completed this institutional review board approved study.

Results

Performance as measured by the SPs, SNs, and the postencounter note all showed improvement with mostly moderate to large effect sizes (range of Cohen's d, 0.30–1.88; P < 0.05) after completion of the online module. Unexpectedly, professionalism as rated by the SP was poorer after the module (Cohen's d, −0.93; P = 0.000).

Discussion

A brief computer-based educational intervention significantly improved graduating medical students' clinical skills needed to be ready for residency.

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