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Med Teach. 2005 Sep;27(6):559-61.

A PDA-based instructional tool to monitor students' cardiac auscultation during a medicine clerkship.

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Department of Medicine and Office of Educational Services of Medical College of Wisconsin, Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Cardiac auscultation is an important skill for medical students to master but students' exposure to cardiac auscultation is often unmonitored. The objective of this study was to gather data at the point of care about students' cardiac auscultation experience on a required medicine rotation using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) 'murmur form'. During an eight-month period, 120 M3 students used the authors' PDA-based learning tool to record information on 940 heart sounds and murmurs. Some 93% of all heart sounds/murmurs reported by students were verified by either a faculty member (56%) or a supervising resident (43%). A PDA can be a useful tool to monitor students' experiences of cardiac auscultation and to track direct observation of such skills by faculty or residents. Medical students are eager to use technology at the point of care to practice their clinical skills.

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