African Journal of Health Professions Education

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Effect of bedside teaching activities on patients’ experiences at an Ethiopian hospital

F A Gebrekirkos, J M van Wyk


Background. Clinical bedside teaching is more effective when done at the bedside. The number of medical schools in Ethiopia has increased tenfold in 8 years
to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The increased number of students at the patient’s bedside has been met with mixed feelings by patients.

Objective. To determine patients’ perceptions of bedside teaching during their admission to the medical and surgical wards at Mekelle University Hospital, Ethiopia.

Methods. A 32-item questionnaire was used for data collection. Patients used a Likert scale to rate their perceptions of the quality of their hospital stay
with regard to teaching, clerkships and physical examinations. Items where respondents scored less than the median of 67 (interquartile range 21) were
categorised as displaying a negative attitude.

Results. Patients (60%) did not favour the bedside teaching activities. No significant association was found with age, sex, occupation, literacy level, duration
of hospital stay, and ward. Patients (>80%) also did not understand the discussions following teaching sessions, and claimed to be unaware of the teaching
status of the hospital. Patients (>80%) did not understand the role of the students and were anxious when left alone to be examined and clerked by them.

Conclusion. The rights of patients in medical education should be emphasised. Patients should be informed about the role of students at teaching
hospitals and about their rights and responsibilities as patients. Institutional protocols and country-wide guidelines can help to regulate the number
of times that a patient should be clerked and physically examined by students. Instructors should ensure that patients understand the purpose of the
discussion that follows the examination.
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