Questions To Improve Health Care Education

6steps-bookOne of the challenges facing medical students is the transition from the highly supervised role of student to the intermittently supervised role of an intern after they graduate.

The Education branch of Jump brings together faculty from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOMP), which allows for an integrated approach to students’ professional development toward independent practice. When simulation is identified as an ideal educational strategy, the Jump Curriculum Committee evaluates the program proposal using Dr. David Kern’s six-step process for Curriculum Development as a framework.

What is Missing?

One of the results of this process has been the adoption of a “boot camp” for fourth year medical students (M4s). Through step one (General Needs Assessment) of the six-step process, it was determined that there needed to be an elective to prepare M4s for residency. In step two (Targeted Needs Assessment), it was important to define the course, starting off by determining the goals and objectives that would benefit students the most.

Unfortunately, you can’t prepare for every possible residency match, so it’s important to choose universal skills. Time is also a big determinant on what skills are taught. The course director has to determine if they want to teach one complicated process that takes a long time, or two smaller and simpler processes that take half the time.

Does It Need a Simulation?

When determining the educational strategies in step four, often the first question asked is if the objective can be completed with or without a simulation. While it is easy to say that you want to use a simulation for everything, especially since learners find it to be an exciting tool, sometimes a simulation may not be the best option.

Simulations are used frequently in the boot camp however, ranging from lumbar punctures on task trainers to breaking bad news with the aid of Standardized Participants. Simulations provide the hands on, in-situation training that learning in a classroom setting can’t adequately provide.

How Do We Make the Vision the Reality?

Health Care EducationStep five is the implementation. This part is when we determine and finalize all of the information that our simulation technicians (sim techs) and standardized participants (SPs) need to know. This information is put into a second document, known as the session template. The session template gives the learning objectives, and overview of how the simulation will run from start to finish, explaining different things the learners may say or do, and appropriate responses from the sim techs or SPs.

As experts in their field, our sim techs review the curriculum content and objectives, seeking to identify are any gaps that were missed. Not only is it helpful to have another pair of eyes look over the content, this helps the sim techs understand what is going on when setting up and running the simulation.

The session template is a great tool that facilitates consistent reproduction of the courses by standardizing the execution for every event – ensuring that every learner group has the same high quality experience.

How Did We Do?

Finally, step six is evaluating and obtaining feedback on the curriculum, as well as assessing the learner. It was determined that M4s who took the boot camp when it was an elective were more prepared and successful for internships.

“I feel ahead of the game compared to my co-interns from different medical schools,” said Charlie Jain, MD (UICOMP Class of 2014) an intern in the internal medicine residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “I know this prep training I received as a medical student has helped make me a better physician.”

Categories: Curriculum, Education