Enhanced oral patient presentation feedback leads to student improvement

1. Medical students who received more feedback on oral patient presentations during the first 10 days of their pediatric clerkship had significantly higher performance scores than those who did not receive any feedback at all.

2. Students who received the most feedback during the clerkship were much more likely to self-report that their patient presentation skills improved over the course of the study period than students who were not did not have extensive feedback.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)  

Study Rundown: Physicians, medical residents, and medical students use oral presentations to inform one another about critical components of patient history and care plans. For medical students, this form of communication can be stressful and often students present in a fashion that does not meet faculty expectations. In the current study, researchers focused on identifying effective methods to assist third year medical students in enhancing their oral presentation skills. Medical students from 4 US medical schools were selected to participate during their pediatric clerkship and were randomized to receive different levels of feedback on their presentation skills: none, some, or a more extensive form of feedback. Their presentation skills were then evaluated by faculty and self-assessed at the conclusion of the clerkship. Results indicated that medical students who received a detailed feedback on their performances tended to have higher quality patient presentations on evaluation at the end of their rotation than those who did not receive any feedback. Students who also received individualized feedback were much more likely than the control group (no feedback) to report that their ability to give an effective oral presentation improved during the clerkship. While this study may have been limited by differing expectations among schools, this study’s significant findings indicate a potentially promising method to aid in improving a critical communication skill among medical professionals.

Click to read the study, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: What’s the story? Expectations for oral case presentations

Study Author, Dr. Colin M. Sox MD, MS, talks to 2 Minute Medicine: Boston University School of Medicine.

“This paper reports the findings of a multi-center three-arm randomized controlled trial designed to test the impact of two educational interventions on students’ oral presentations assessed by faculty blinded to intervention status. This methodologically rigorous study demonstrated that faculty-led oral case presentations feedback sessions early in pediatric clerkships in which faculty completed a detailed evaluation form improved the quality of students’ subsequent presentations. While the intervention’s effect size was small (3.8% higher average faculty-rated presentation quality score), the solid evidence-base of this result should lead educators to consider investing the modest teaching time required to implement this approach to improving this fundamental clinical skill. Providing faculty a list of key elements to assess while giving students feedback on their oral presentation is valuable.”

In-Depth [multicenter, randomized controlled trial study]: Third year medical students (n = 476) involved in pediatric clerkships at Boston University School of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine were included in this study. Clerkship blocks (all students in clerkship) were randomized evenly to receive simple oral presentation feedback (performance rated on a 9-point Likert scale), detailed feedback (completion of a form assessing 18 individual points of student’s presentation), or no feedback during the first 10 days of their clerkship. All students received an instructional presentation on expectations for oral presentations at the beginning of the study. Multivariable linear regression analysis revealed that presentation quality scores were a significant 3.8% higher in the detailed feedback group than in the control group (coefficient: 0.38; 95% CI: 0.07- 0.69, p < .05). The simple feedback arm was not significantly different from the controls (coefficient: 0.16; 95% CI: -0.12- 0.43). Students in the detailed group were significantly more likely to report improved presentation skills than the control group in multivariate analysis controlling for school (odds ratio: 2.16; 95% CI: 1.11- 4.18).

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