Does the transition to clinical training change students' perception of career choice, physician's character and preclinical studies?

Eyal Lotan, Oded Kimhi, Michael Lishner, Netta Notzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In Israel, the transition to clinical training in hospitals is the first direct encounter of the medical student with the reality of the profession. This is a significant socialization step for his upcoming professional decisions. AIMS: This study aimed to identify how this encounter influences students' perceptions of career choice, physician's character and preclinical studies. METHODS: Fourth year Israeli medical students at the Tel Aviv University voluntarily completed a questionnaire before and after their first clinical clerkship. The questionnaire was comprised of 30 5-point Likert scale statements and 3 multiple choice questions with the possibility to add remarks. RESULTS: The random response rate was 90% (81/90) before the clerkship and 82% (90/110) at its end. Results indicate that the students are satisfied with their medical studies at both junctures. However, after the clerkship, 23% of the students consider alternatives to clinical medicine compared with only 6% before, and 16% would rethink studying medicine. Physicians are perceived as professional, compassionate, respectful to colleagues and actively participating in students' education. Physicians' levels of workload and bitterness are evaluated as high and moderate, respectively, while their levels of reward and satisfaction with medicine are evaluated as low and moderate, respectively. Their evaluation of the contribution of preclinical studies as preparation for clinical studies had not changed after the clerkship and was moderate, and earlier exposure to patients and clinical relevancy of the learned subjects were preferred. SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION: The students enter the medical world highly satisfied, and this feeling shall be maintained until the stage of being independent physicians and choosing their specialties. The picture that evolved, in which a high proportion of the students consider alternatives to clinical medicine, is disappointing. Educators should be aware of their role model function not only in knowledge and skills, but also in behavior and communication with patients. The students pointed to necessary changes in the medical curriculum to make basic sciences more relevant to clinical medicine. A broader study at different stages of studies in the rest of the medical faculties in Israel may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-226, 263
JournalHarefuah
Volume149
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

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