Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2008 Atlanta Meeting

Poster Presentation:

Planting the seeds of reflective practice: e-journaling by medical students.

Glen Medellin
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Introduction: The LCME requires fostering in medical students the skills necessary for life-long learning. One competency endorsed by the American Board of Pediatrics is practice-based learning and improvement. An important precursor is the ability to self-reflect on one’s practice. Medical students, busy studying, often do not protect time for reflection. One method of reflection that can be taught and evaluated is journaling.
Objectives: 1) To describe the implementation of a pediatric clerkship student online reflective journaling project. 2) To determine the feasibility of performing qualitative analysis of journaling responses. 3) To assess student satisfaction with e-journaling.
Methods: This was a pilot project to determine the feasibility of e-journaling. Using Blackboard, a type of classroom management software, students were assigned weekly journaling topics throughout their 6-week pediatric clerkship. A private discussion board was created for each student to allow asynchronous discussions between the students and faculty. All journal entries were read and commented on by faculty. The journaling was compiled and exported for future qualitative analysis. Students rated the experience during their end-of-clerkship evaluations.
Results: During the 2006-2007 academic year, 180 medical students participated in the e-journaling exercise. This generated 977 pages of dialogue between student and faculty. On the end-of-clerkship evaluation, 168 students responded to the question assessing satisfaction with journaling. 122 (72.6%) endorsed the statement, “I enjoyed the experience. It was worth the time spent.” 40 (23.8%) endorsed the statement, “It was OK, but it took up too much time.” 6 (3.6%) endorsed the statement, “It was a waste of time and not a useful learning experience.”
Conclusions: E-journaling using the discussion-board feature of Blackboard enabled asynchronous discussions between faculty and students and encouraged reflection. The reflective writing can easily be exported for further analysis. E-journaling allows medical students to reflect on their life as a student and their future role as a physician, allows for feedback by faculty, and medical students felt the exercise was a good use of their precious time.