Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Are you ready? Assessing a Capstone Course Designed to Improve the Transition into Pediatric Residency

Kevin R. Waloff,Children's Hospital Los Angeles,Los Angeles,CA,Craig C. DeWolfe,Children's National Health System,Washington,DC

Background:  A medical student’s transition to residency can be difficult and marked by a lack of knowledge, skills, and comfort dealing with cases and scenarios typical of internship. As a result The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences developed a four week senior capstone curriculum offered within three months of graduation for students entering pediatrics as an opportunity to review and apply knowledge and skills typical of an intern in case-based and high fidelity simulation scenarios.  

Research Objective:  To measure the perceived value of the pediatric capstone course among participants halfway into intern year of residency.

Methods:  We surveyed students who completed the pediatric capstone course in 2012 prior to starting as residents. This survey focused on comparing medical school and residency experiences, measuring perceived confidence and skills gained, and rating the value of specific elements in the course. The survey was electronically mailed to participants in December of intern year and data was collected over the next three months.

Results:  Fifteen participants were eligible and ten completed the survey. When asked about preparation for residency, 100% selected the pediatric sub-internship and capstone course as either important or very important. In comparison, 60% selected third year clinical clerkships, 70% selected residency orientation, and 90% selected a pediatric elective as either important or very important. All 100% agreed that the capstone course was a useful way to spend the fourth year. All 100% felt more confident at the start of residency because of the capstone course and that it was relevant to their needs as starting residents.

Discussion:  Survey respondents perceive value in the capstone course. They rate it on-par with the acting internship and better than third year clerkships, fourth year electives, and residency orientations. All participants felt that the course boosted their confidence.  Limitations of this study include a small sample size, single institution, single year, and the potential for a voluntary response and nonresponse bias. All notwithstanding, these results warrant continued examination of the value of the curriculum and potential spread to other schools.