Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Burning the Midnight Oil: A Focus Group Study of Medical Student Night Call Preferences

Ori Scott,University of Alberta,Edmonton,Alberta,Jacqueline Lee,University of Alberta,Edmonton,Alberta,Karen Forbes,University of Alberta,Edmonton,Alberta

Background: On-call experience is an important component of medical education, providing students with unique learning opportunities often missed during daytime. Traditional overnight call has been the subject of student ambiguity, and may contribute to fatigue and burnout. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the educational value for time invested during traditional call. Restrictions on resident duty-hours in the United States and Canada have led to alternate call modalities, including “night float” systems,towards which resident attitudes are mixed.Following these changes, some clerkship programs have reformed their student call requirements. A survey of Canadian pediatric clerkship directors revealed that while some programs adhere to traditional call, the majority employ other modalities, including night float, evening call, or a combination thereof. Interestingly, student call preferences have been poorly studied to date.

Objective:To explore the perceptions of final year medical students regarding benefits and challenges of different call modalities, and to elucidate differences in their educational and clinical experiences.

Methods: We will conduct a focus group study among students in their final year at one Canadian medical school. Using a semi-structured format, focus group discussions will explore perceived benefits and disadvantages of call models that the students have experienced during their clerkship.  Students will also be asked to discuss differences in clinical and educational experiences, and the effects of different call structures on several parameters.  Focus group discussions will be recorded and transcribed. Content analysis will be undertaken to explore the range of student responses, conducted independently by three individuals. Discrepancies in themes will be resolved by consensus.

Results: Focus groups will be conducted in November and December 2014.  Data analysis will be completes, and results will be available early 2015.

Anticipated Impact: The educational needs and goals of students and residents differ greatly, and may best be met employing different call modalities. We believe the results of this study may serve as a guiding tool for clerkship directors and undergraduate medical education decision makers, allowing for more informed determination of structuring call experiences for medical students.