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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999 Sep;153(9):989-94.

Pediatric clerkship experience and performance in the Nebraska Education Consortium: a community vs university comparison.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha 68198-2184, USA.



To compare the reported experiences and performance on end-of-course examinations of students completing their pediatric clerkship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Omaha, with that of students completing their clerkship in a community pediatrician's practice (CPP) outside the Omaha metropolitan area.


Cohort study.


Private and/or institutional practices with both ambulatory and hospital components.


For the academic year 1996-1997, all 113 students completing the 8-week third-year pediatric clerkship returned a questionnaire detailing their opinions of the experience. They also completed written (multiple-choice and essay questions) and oral (standardized parent interview) examinations, locally prepared and based on clerkship curriculum objectives provided to the students at orientation. Prior to student placement in the CPP, the clerkship goals, content, and evaluation methods as well as techniques for teaching in a busy office practice were reviewed with the CPP physicians. Eighty-one students performed their clerkship at UNMC while 31 spent all but the first week of the clerkship in the CPP.


The students' opinions about their experiences and their performances on the end-of-course examinations were compared. Statistical analysis of the questionnaire was done using the Fisher exact test and the Mantel-Haenszel chi2 test while examination performance was compared using the t test and the Wilcoxon rank sum test.


The UNMC and CPP groups reported similar opinions of their experiences in the newborn nursery and the inpatient portion of the clerkship, but the CPP students were much more positive about their learning experience in the clinic (P=.001). The CPP students reported more involvement in the patient's overall care (P<.001) and in other aspects of clinic operation (P<.001). The UNMC and CPP students had similar opinions of curriculum content, reading material, and didactic instruction. No group differences were found regarding interest in pediatrics as a career. Most importantly, no group differences were found in performance on any portion of the end-of-course examinations.


Community-based education at the third-year clerkship level can be accomplished without a significant effect on student examination performance if students and faculty are aware of and adhere to a common set of goals. The end result is a much more robust experience for students who spend the clerkship in the practice of a community-based pediatrician.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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