Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics

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COMSEP 2010 Albuquerque Meeting

INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING PLANS ALLOW MEDICAL STUDENTS TO DEVELOP AND ACHIEVE LEARNING OBJECTIVES DURING THEIR 4TH YEAR PEDIATRIC SUB-INTERNSHIP

Authors:
Amy E. Fleming, MD, Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN; Michelle E. Shepard, Medical Student, School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

 

Background: Individualized learning plans (ILPs) have proved useful for setting learning objectives and strategies among residents.  We believe that ILPs will provide similar results when integrated into the curriculum of 4th year pediatric sub-internships. Objective(s): To detail the implementation of ILPs for fourth-year pediatrics sub-interns at a single institution and to assess: 1) student self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses using ACGME competencies, 2) creation and achievement of specific learning objectives for the rotation, and 3) weekly reassessment and refinement of learning objectives and strategies. Methods: 22 pediatric sub-internship students developed an ILP including an initial self-assessment modeled after the ACGME competencies and two learning objectives with corresponding strategies to achieve them within the month of their rotation.  Students met weekly as a group with the sub-internship director to discuss challenges and assess progress toward their objectives.  After the rotation, students completed a brief survey using a 5-point Likert scale addressing the utility of incorporating ILPs into the curriculum. Results: Of 22 surveys distributed, 17 (77%) were returned and included in this analysis.  Students found that initial assessment of strengths and weaknesses helped to guide development of learning objectives (4.31/5.00), and they agreed that exposure to ACGME competencies as part of the self-assessment was useful at this point in their careers (4.00/5.00).  Nearly all students were able to create specific and achievable learning objectives (4.59/5.00) and believed that this exercise helped them to accomplish more during their rotation (4.47/5.00).  Weekly reassessment of learning objectives and strategies proved useful to most students (4.12/5.00), and group discussions that developed during weekly meetings were valuable (4.00/5.00). Discussion: Most students found that the development and implementation of personal learning objectives and strategies was a useful addition to their pediatrics sub-internship.  Exposure to ACGME competencies as a means of self-assessment was appreciated by 4th-year students.  Development of specific strategies to achieve objectives was more challenging, and future revision of this program should focus on providing more guidance in this area.