A specialized geriatric rotation during clerkship year important

January 01, 0001

A specialized geriatric rotation during clerkship year important

The aim of this study was to test the assumption that knowledge, attitudes, and skills (KAS) in geriatrics are learned via exposure to elderly patients in nongeriatric clerkships. In the developed world, the proportion of adults at least 65 years old will soon surpass the proportion of children less than 14. However, clinical clerkships containing geriatric rotations are not mandated by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education. The authors assessed differences in geriatrics-focused KAS between medical students who completed a rotation in eldercare and those who completed a traditional nongeriatric clerkship. Over two academic years, the authors randomly assigned 263 clinical clerks to a clerkship year that did (eldercare group) or did not contain a two-week rotation focused on geriatrics. All students completed questionnaires that assessed their knowledge of and attitudes toward geriatric patients before and after their clerkships. Before graduation, all students completed an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) including a clinical station focused on geriatrics. Questionnaire and OSCE station response rates were 74.8% and 100%, respectively.

The eldercare group had significantly higher knowledge scores. Students' attitudes toward older adults worsened over the clerkship year in both groups, but slightly less in the eldercare group; that group had significantly higher OSCE geriatric station scores and overall pass rates.

The researchers concluded: "Geriatrics is often regarded as a nonessential discipline. This study showed, however, that a clerkship year containing a specialized geriatric rotation is significantly more effective than a traditional clerkship year in preparing students to care for an aging population."

Education and training should be preparing people for their future work and the bulk of doctors will deal with the elderly.

For the full abstract, click here.

Academic Medicine 85(7):1221-1228, July 2010
© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges
"But I See Old People Everywhere": Dispelling the Myth That Eldercare Is Learned in Nongeriatric Clerkships. Diachun, Laura, Van Bussel, Lisa, Hansen, Kevin T., Charise, Andrea and Rieder, Michael J. Correspondence to Laura Diachun: [email protected]

Category: PT. Professional Training. Keywords: eldercare, clerkships, questionnaire, OSCE, comparitive cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 30 July 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.