Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Fam Med. 1992 Jul;24(5):378-81.

Designing and evaluating an episodic, problem-based geriatric curriculum.

Author information

Office of Medical Education, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19129.



Medical school geriatric training has been directed primarily at improving students' attitudes and knowledge about elderly patients. This study evaluated a clinical problem-based geriatric course for medical students.


The two-semester geriatric course was presented to 136 second-year medical students. Faculty taught students about clinical reasoning in ambulatory geriatrics using written cases, patient-actors, literature reviews, lectures, and discussions. At the end of the course, students' clinical activity was evaluated using audiotaped interviews with standardized geriatric patients. A questionnaire examined students' knowledge, attitudes, and their evaluation of the course.


All 136 students completed the post-course standardized patient interview, and 105 (77%) completed questionnaires. Students rated the course favorably and had high confidence scores for ability to assess geriatric problems. Students' knowledge increased during the course compared to a precourse examination (P less than .05). Evaluation of post-course standardized patient interviews revealed that students who scored higher on the knowledge test tended to ask more psychosocial questions during the interview (r = 0.38). Students who scored higher on the attitude test spent more time eliciting patients' feelings during the interview (r = 0.38). Those with lower scores on the attitude test spent more time asking factual, nonpsychosocial questions (r = 0.28).


A clinical problem-based geriatric course for preclinical medical students can be successful in improving students' knowledge. Attitudes and knowledge effect the questions a student asks during the medical interview.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center