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Open Access Research article

Clinical capabilities of graduates of an outcomes-based integrated medical program

Helen A Scicluna1, Michael C Grimm2, Anthony J O’Sullivan1, Peter Harris1, Louis S Pilotto3, Philip D Jones1 and H Patrick McNeil4*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

2 St George Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

3 Rural Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

4 South Western Sydney Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:23  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-23

Published: 27 April 2012

Abstract

Background

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Faculty of Medicine replaced its old content-based curriculum with an innovative new 6-year undergraduate entry outcomes-based integrated program in 2004. This paper is an initial evaluation of the perceived and assessed clinical capabilities of recent graduates of the new outcomes-based integrated medical program compared to benchmarks from traditional content-based or process-based programs.

Method

Self-perceived capability in a range of clinical tasks and assessment of medical education as preparation for hospital practice were evaluated in recent graduates after 3 months working as junior doctors. Responses of the 2009 graduates of the UNSW’s new outcomes-based integrated medical education program were compared to those of the 2007 graduates of UNSW’s previous content-based program, to published data from other Australian medical schools, and to hospital-based supervisor evaluations of their clinical competence.

Results

Three months into internship, graduates from UNSW’s new outcomes-based integrated program rated themselves to have good clinical and procedural skills, with ratings that indicated significantly greater capability than graduates of the previous UNSW content-based program. New program graduates rated themselves significantly more prepared for hospital practice in the confidence (reflective practice), prevention (social aspects of health), interpersonal skills (communication), and collaboration (teamwork) subscales than old program students, and significantly better or equivalent to published benchmarks of graduates from other Australian medical schools. Clinical supervisors rated new program graduates highly capable for teamwork, reflective practice and communication.

Conclusions

Medical students from an outcomes-based integrated program graduate with excellent self-rated and supervisor-evaluated capabilities in a range of clinically-relevant outcomes. The program-wide curriculum reform at UNSW has had a major impact in developing capabilities in new graduates that are important for 21st century medical practice.