In 1993, the University of Virginia School of Medicine began a clinical skills workshop program in an effort to improve the preparation of all clerkship students to participate in clinical care. This program involved the teaching of selected basic clinical skills by interested faculty to small groups of third-year medical students. Over the past 14 years, the number of workshops has increased from 11 to 31, and they now involve clerkship faculty from family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Workshops include a variety of common skills from the communication, physical examination, and clinical test and procedure domains such as pediatric phone triage, shoulder examination, ECG interpretation, and suturing. Workshop sessions allow students to practice skills on each other, with standardized patients, or with models, with the goal of improving competence and confidence in the performance of basic clinical skills. Students receive direct feedback from faculty on their skill performance. The style and content of these workshops are guided by an explicit set of educational criteria.
A formal evaluation process ensures that faculty receive regular feedback from student evaluation comments so that adherence to workshop criteria is continuously reinforced. Student evaluations confirm that these workshops meet their skill-learning needs. Preliminary outcome measures suggest that workshop teaching can be linked to student assessment data and may improve students' skill performance. This program represents a work-in-progress toward the goal of providing a more comprehensive and developmental clinical skills curriculum in the school of medicine.
Dr. Corbett is Bernard B. and Anne L. Brodie Professor of Medicine and professor of nursing, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Payne is assistant professor of pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Bradley is instructor and evaluation coordinator, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Maughan is associate professor of family medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Heald is associate professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Mr. Wang is senior biostatistician, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Corbett, PO Box 800901, Charlottesville, VA 22908; telephone: (434) 924-1685; fax: (434) 243-9282; e-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org).