Evaluation of students' learning in an interdisciplinary medicine–surgery clerkship

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PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact of an interdisciplinary medicine-surgery clerkship (created to foster generalist education) on students' performances on National Board of Medical Examiners' (NBME) subject examinations. METHOD: Test data for the 226 students who participated in the 16-week combined clerkship and for the 265 students who had completed the traditional clerkships (12 weeks of medicine, 12 weeks of surgery) were compiled and analyzed using t-tests for independent samples. RESULTS: Mean scores on the NBME subject examination in medicine increased significantly after the combined medicine-surgery clerkship (from 433 to 455, p < or = 0.5). Mean scores on the NBME subject examination in surgery were similar to those achieved in the traditional clerkship years. CONCLUSION: Since the medicine and surgery clerkships were combined into a single, interdisciplinary clerkship, students' scores have increased on the medicine NBME subject examination and have remained relatively unchanged on the surgery NBME subject examination, despite a substantial reduction in students' clinical experience in the combined clerkship from the traditional clerkships (16 vs 24 weeks).

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