Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Nashville

Poster Presentation:

A peer-led pediatric elective for preclinical medical students


 Puja J. Umaretiya, B.S., B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Ashley N. Cobb, B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Erin P. O'Donnell, B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Elizabeth M. Keating, B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Stephanie R. Starr, B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Amie E. Jones, B.S., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Background: Many preclinical medical students desire early exposure to medical specialties. A literature review suggests that these experiences are largely faculty-designed; however, medical education is trending towards incorporating peer-led learning. Due to proximity to training, a peer-designed experience may be more perceptive to the needs of participants. Additionally, students may have more time to invest in planning, leading to a more comprehensive experience. Here we report our experience with a week-long, peer-designed elective in pediatrics implemented by the Pediatric Interest Group at Mayo Medical School.
Objectives: To develop and deliver a pediatric elective for preclinical medical students that increases student interest and knowledge of pediatrics.
Methods: Annual needs assessments over three years (2010-2012) identified topics of interest to participants; these were incorporated into each week-long elective and included pediatric residency, subspecialties, research, international child health and community practice. Participants also shadowed three pediatricians in self-selected specialties to aid in career exploration. Per student feedback, the 2011 elective was modified to include workshops for child psychiatry patient interviews, a panel of parents whose children have died, and a respiratory distress simulation exercise. In response to requests for more interaction with children, the 2012 elective included an activity at a Boys & Girls Club.
Results: In a post-elective survey administered to participants from the past three years (n=73; response rate=89%), students strongly agreed with the statement I am more interested in pediatrics because of this elective (average rating=8.4/10). The 2011 modifications, the simulation exercise (average=9.7/10) and the parents panel (average=9.8/10) were the two highest-rated activities in 2011 and 2012.  From 2011 to 2012, average student rating of the statement I would recommend this elective to other students increased from 9/10 to 9.4/10, as did response to the statement I learned useful information about pediatrics (8.9/10 to 9.7/10).
Conclusions: Our peer-designed elective increased interest in pediatrics and connected students to pediatric service, research, and mentors. Positive responses in the post-elective survey suggest a strong desire among medical students for a comprehensive preclinical exposure to pediatrics and that this experience may influence student perspectives and future training choices.