Rwanda Journal of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Medical Students’ Perceptions on Skills Laboratory Training for Clerkship preparedness at the University of Rwanda: A Pilot Study

Florence Mukakabano Gasatura


Background: The preclinical and skills laboratory training years of  undergraduate medical education provide educational content in a structured learning whereas clerkship provides clinical training in a more experiential manner. Although early clinical skills training is emphasized in many medical schools today, students still feel unprepared about starting their clerkship.
Aim: This study explored perceived challenges encountered by early clerkship students performing clinical skills learned in a skills laboratory.
Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to ninety purposely selected medical students from year three to year six of the medical school of the University of Rwanda in the academic year  2012-2013. Questionnaire was answered anonymously by the participants.
Descriptive statistics were used. Results were analysed in terms of  distribution and percentages.
Results: Sixty-eight self-administered questionnaires out of ninety  distributed (76%) were returned. The results showed that a simulation exercise for preclinical years may be a valuable tool to increase knowledge and student self-confidence at a key transition period prior to beginning clerkship experience. Preclinical skills-laboratory enhances patients’ safety during medical students’ early clerkship years.
Conclusions: Preclinical skills training in a skills laboratory is an important tool to increase knowledge and student self-confidence of medical students before beginning clerkship experience.
Keywords: Medical students, clinical skills, clerkship, rotations, transition
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