Basic clinical skills don't leave teaching to the teaching hospitals

B T Johnston, M Boohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To compare student perception of teaching in general practice (GP), district general hospitals (DGHs) and teaching hospitals (THs) and their examination results.

SETTING: The medical school at Queen's University, Belfast.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A total of 161 medical and 34 dental students completed an objective structured clinical examination and questionnaire at the end of their second semester of basic skills teaching. They scored the course for teaching style, educational value and enjoyment. Teaching attributes of the tutors were similarly recorded. Students were also asked to quantify how time was used and to comment on the course.

INTERVENTIONS: A new programme for teaching first- and second-year students basic clinical skills in the community.

RESULTS: Teaching in GP and DGHs was reported to be more educational and enjoyable than in the TH. In GP most time was spent being lectured, in DGHs most time was spent with the patient, and in THs, waiting for the tutor. General practitioners and doctors in DGHs were more likely to model positive teaching attitudes such as showing interest in students and providing feedback. The most common complaints related to insufficient time spent with patients in GP and poor tutor preparation in THs. All teaching sites achieved similar examination results.

CONCLUSION: Clinical skills can be taught to medical students early in their curriculum using GP tutors. Student preference was strongly for being taught by GPs rather than in THs. Simple steps such as prior preparation and the locating of a suitable patient could markedly improve student experience both in GP and in hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-699
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Education
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2000


  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate/organization & administration
  • Educational Measurement
  • Family Practice/education
  • Female
  • Hospitals, District
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Teaching/methods
  • United Kingdom


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