University of Limerick
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Medical school clinical placements – the optimal method for assessing the clinical educational environment from a graduate entry perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-09, 12:16 authored by Sarah HydeSarah Hyde, Ailish HanniganAilish Hannigan, Tim Dornan, DEIRDRE MCGRATHDEIRDRE MCGRATH
Background: Educational environment is a strong determinant of student satisfaction and achievement. The learning environments of medical students on clinical placements are busy workplaces, composed of many variables. There is no universally accepted method of evaluating the clinical learning environment, nor is there consensus on what concepts or aspects should be measured. The aims of this study were to compare the Dundee ready educational environment measure (DREEM - the current de facto standard) and the more recently developed Manchester clinical placement index (MCPI) for the assessment of the clinical learning environment in a graduate entry medical student cohort by correlating the scores of each and analysing free text comments. This study also explored student perceptionof how the clinical educational environment is assessed. Methods: An online, anonymous survey comprising of both the DREEM and MCPI instruments was delivered to students on clinical placement in a graduate entry medical school. Additional questions explored students’ perceptions of instruments for giving feedback. Numeric variables (DREEM score, MCPI score, ratings) were tested for normality and summarised. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to measure the strength of the association between total DREEM score and total MCPI scores. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the free text comments. Results: The overall response rate to the questionnaire was 67% (n = 180), with a completed response rate for the MCPI of 60% (n = 161) and for the DREEM of 58% (n = 154). There was a strong, positive correlation between total DREEM and MCPI scores (r = 0.71, p < 0.001). On a scale of 0 to 7, the mean rating for how worthwhile students found completing the DREEM was 3.27 (SD 1.41) and for the MCPI was 3.49 (SD .57). ‘Finding balance’ and ‘learning at work’ were among the themes to emerge from analysis of free text comments. Conclusions: The present study confirms that DREEM and MCPI total scores are strongly correlated. Graduate entry students tended to favour this method of evaluation over the DREEM with the MCPI prompting rich description of the clinical learning environment. Further study is warranted to determine if this finding is transferable to all clinical medical student cohorts.



BMC Medical Education;18:7


BioMed Central





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