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Open Access Research article

Improving the transition from medical school to internship – evaluation of a preparation for internship course

Helen A Scicluna1*, Michael C Grimm2, Philip D Jones1, Louis S Pilotto3 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 2014, 14:23  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-23

Published: 3 February 2014

Abstract

Background

This study evaluates the impact of a new 'Preparation for Internship’ (PRINT) course, which was developed to facilitate the transition of University of New South Wales (UNSW) medical graduates from Medical School to Internship.

Methods

During a period of major curricular reform, the 2007 (old program) and 2009 (new program) cohorts of UNSW final year students completed the Clinical Capability Questionnaire (CCQ) prior to and after undertaking the PRINT course. Clinical supervisors’ ratings and self-ratings of UNSW 2009 medical graduates were obtained from the Hospital-based Prevocational Progress Review Form.

Results

Prior to PRINT, students from both cohorts perceived they had good clinical skills, with lower ratings for capability in procedural skills, operational management, and administrative tasks. After completing PRINT, students from both cohorts perceived significant improvement in their capability in procedural skills, operational management, and administrative tasks. Although PRINT also improved student-perceived capability in confidence, interpersonal skills and collaboration in both cohorts, curriculum reform to a new outcomes-based program was far more influential in improving self-perceptions in these facets of preparedness for hospital practice than PRINT.

Conclusions

The PRINT course was most effective in improving students’ perceptions of their capability in procedural skills, operational management and administrative tasks, indicating that student-to-intern transition courses should be clinically orientated, address relevant skills, use experiential learning, and focus on practical tasks. Other aspects that are important in preparation of medical students for hospital practice cannot be addressed in a PRINT course, but major improvements are achievable by program-wide curriculum reform.

Keywords:
Undergraduate medical education; Transition to internship; Outcome based curriculum; Clinical skills