Open Access Research article

Medical student self-reported confidence in obstetrics and gynaecology: development of a core clinical competencies document

Kristen Pierides1, Paul Duggan2*, Anna Chur-Hansen3 and Amaya Gilson3

Author Affiliations

1 Medical School, The University of Adelaide, Frome Rd, Adelaide, 5005, Australia

2 Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, Frome Rd, Adelaide, 5005, Australia

3 Discipline of Psychiatry, The University of Adelaide, Frome Rd, Adelaide, 5005, Australia

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:62  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-62

Published: 1 May 2013



Clinical competencies in obstetrics and gynaecology have not been clearly defined for Australian medical students, the growing numbers of which may impact clinical teaching. Our aim was to administer and validate a competencies list, for self-evaluation by medical students of their confidence to manage common clinical tasks in obstetrics and gynaecology; to evaluate students’ views on course changes that may result from increasing class sizes.


A draft list of competencies was peer-reviewed, and discussed at two student focus groups. The resultant list was administered as part of an 81 item online survey.


Sixty-eight percent (N = 172) of those eligible completed the survey. Most respondents (75.8%) agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident and well equipped to recognise and manage most common and important obstetric and gynaecological conditions. Confidence was greater for women, and for those who received a higher assessment grade. Free-text data highlight reasons for lack of clinical experience that may impact perceived confidence.


The document listing competencies for medical students and educators is useful for discussions around a national curriculum in obstetrics and gynaecology in medical schools, including the best methods of delivery, particularly in the context of increasing student numbers.

Clinical skills; Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Core competencies; Student evaluation