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Open Access Research article

Interest in neurology during medical clerkship in three Nigerian medical schools

Emmanuel O Sanya1*, Olugbenga E Ayodele2 and Timothy O Olanrewaju3

Author Affiliations

1 Neurology unit, Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1459, Ilorin Kwara State, Nigeria

2 Department of Medicine, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo, Nigeria

3 Renal Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital PMB 1459 Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:36  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-36

Published: 20 May 2010

Abstract

Background

This study sought to ascertain perception of Nigerian medical students of neurology in comparison with 7 other major medical specialties. To also determine whether neurology was the specialty students consider most difficult and the reasons for this and to appraise their opinion on how neurosciences and neurology were taught in their different universities.

Methods

Self-administered questionnaires were used to obtain information from randomly selected clinical students from 3 medical colleges in Nigeria (University of Ibadan, Ibadan; University of Ilorin, Ilorin; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo).

Results

Of 320 questionnaires sent out, 302 were returned given 94% response rate. Students felt they knew neurology least of all the 8 medical specialties, and were not confident of making neurological diagnoses. About 82% of the students indicated they learnt neurology best from bedside teaching, followed by use of medical textbooks. Close to 15% found online resources very useful for learning neurology and 6% indicated that group discussion was quite useful in the acquisition of knowledge on neurology. Histology and biochemistry were the preclinical subjects participants opined were least useful in learning neurology. The most frequent reasons students felt neurology was difficult were problems with understanding neuroanatomy (49%), insufficient exposure to neurological cases (41%), too many complex diagnoses (32%) and inadequate neurology teachers (32%).

Conclusions

Nigerian medical students perceived neurology as the most difficult medical specialty and are not interested in specializing in it. Neurology education could be improved upon by provision of more bedside tutorials and increased availability of online resources to enhance learning. There is need to emphasize increased frequency of small group discussions amongst students so that they will be used to teamwork after graduation.