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GMS J Med Educ. 2017 Aug 15;34(3):Doc35. doi: 10.3205/zma001112. eCollection 2017.

Peer-Assisted History-Taking Groups: A Subjective Assessment of their Impact Upon Medical Students' Interview Skills.

Author information

1
University Hospital of Tübingen, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Tübingen, Germany.
2
RWTH Aachen, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapeutic Medicine, Aachen, Germany.
3
University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR-University Hospital Essen, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Essen, Germany.

Abstract

in English, German

Background and Objectives: Among the clinical skills needed by all physicians, history taking is one of the most important. The teaching model for peer-assisted history-taking groups investigated in the present study consists of small-group courses in which students practice conducting medical interviews with real patients. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the expectations, experiences, and subjective learning progress of participants in peer-assisted history-taking groups. Methods: The 42 medical student participants completed a 4-month, peer-assisted, elective history-taking course, which both began and ended with a subjective assessment of their interview skills by way of a pseudonymized questionnaire. Measures comprised the students' self-assessment of their interview skills, their expectations of, and their experiences with the course and especially with the peer tutors. Results: Medical students' most important motivations in attending peer-assisted history-taking groups were becoming able to complete a structured medical interview, to mitigate difficult interviewing situations, and to address patients' emotional demands appropriately. By the end of the course, students' self-assessment of both their interview skills and management of emotional issues improved significantly. Students especially benefitted from individual feedback regarding interview style and relationship formation, as well as generally accepted and had their expectations met by peer tutors. Conclusions: To meet the important learning objectives of history-taking and management of emotional issues, as well as self-reflection and reflection of student-patient interactions, students in the field greatly appreciate practicing medical interviewing in small, peer-assisted groups with real patients. At the same time, peer tutors are experienced to be helpful and supportive and can help students to overcome inhibitions in making contact with patients.

KEYWORDS:

Undergraduate medical education; interpersonal relations; medical history taking; medical students; peer-assisted learning; physician-patient relationship

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