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Acad Emerg Med. 2003 Dec;10(12):1329-33.

Patient opinions and attitudes toward medical student procedures in the emergency department.

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Departments of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52246, USA.



To determine emergency department (ED) patients' preferences about having medical students perform procedures as part of medical student clinical training.


A questionnaire was administered to a sequential sample of 150 patients of 196 approached (76.5% participation rate) in a teaching hospital ED. Patients were asked how many procedures a medical student should have performed on other patients before the participant would allow the student to perform the procedure on them. The procedures included venipuncture, starting an IV, suturing the face, suturing the arm, performing a lumbar puncture, starting a central line, inserting a nasogastric tube, intubation, and cardioversion.


If they had their preference, only a minority of patients would allow medical students to perform their first procedure on them for any of the procedures (a high of 42% for venipuncture, with a low of 7% for a lumbar puncture). Many patients prefer that medical students never perform a procedure on them (a high of 56% for a central line and a low of 21% for venipuncture). Patient beliefs were independent of age, gender, or insurance status.


Patients are reluctant to be a medical student's first patient when it comes to procedures in the ED. This has implications for medical training and informed consent.

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