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Family –Centered rounds and medical student performance on the NBME pediatrics subject (shelf) examination: a retrospective cohort study.  Kimbrough TN, Heh V, Wijesooriya NR, and Ryan MS.  Medical Education Online 2016, 21:  30919.

Reviewed by Lore Nelson

Tags:  Clerkship, inpatient, family-centered care

What was the study question?

How do family centered rounds affect medical student knowledge acquisition during the pediatric clerkship using the Nation Board of Medical Examiners pediatric shelf exam as a validated and objective marker of knowledge attainment?


How was the study done?

This was a retrospective cohort study done over a 5 year span that represented the transition from ‘traditional’ rounds to family centered rounds on the pediatric inpatient service.   The data included Step 1 and Step 2 scores and NBME subject exam scores in pediatrics, medicine and surgery. 

What were the results?

816 participants were included in the analysis. The results showed no significant difference in performance on the NBME Pediatric shelf as the family centered rounds were implemented.  Throughout the study period, the students performed at or above the national mean on the NBME pediatric shelf and comparable on the surgery and medicine exams which use traditional rounding formats.  The pediatric shelf was highly correlated with USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 examinations for all years.

What are the implications?

Learners have previously expressed concern over their medical knowledge acquisition being adversely affected during family-centered rounds.  This study shows no difference in Pediatric Shelf Exam performance with implementation of family-centered rounds.  These results should be reassuring for students and medical educators who are using family centered rounds.  Previous studies have shown benefits for families and patients when family centered rounds are utilized.

Editor’s note: Family centered rounds are here to stay and this study verifies one of its many positive attributes—knowledge acquisition. (RR)

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