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Workplace Visits Versus Case Studies in Undergraduate Occupational Medicine Teaching

Braeckman, Lutgart MD, PhD; Bekaert, Micheline MD; Cobbaut, Luc MD; De Ridder, Maurits MD; Glazemakers, Jan MD; Kiss, Philippe MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 12 - p 1455-1459
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181bfa4ff
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the effectiveness and acceptability of two active approaches in teaching occupational medicine to undergraduate medical students.

Methods: Two training formats were compared: in 2007, fourth year students were sent on a workplace visit, and the next-year group discussed real life case studies. Students’ perceptions were obtained by assessment questionnaire.

Results: In both the groups, all learning objectives were equally achieved with one exception. Awareness of risk factors and preventive measures was significantly higher in the group with workplace visits. However, students rated the case scenarios as more relevant.

Conclusions: Until now, many training methods have not been fully investigated. Our study demonstrates that depending on the interest, experiences, and resources of teachers, students, and universities, both worksite visits and case studies can be effectively applied in teaching occupational medicine.

From the Department of Public Health (Dr Braeckman, Dr Bekaert, Dr Cobbaut, Dr De Ridder, Dr Glazemakers, Dr Kiss), Ghent University, Belgium; Mediwet (Dr Bekaert), Occupational Health Service, Ghent, Belgium; Volvo Cars Gent (Dr Cobbaut), Ghent, Belgium; Provikmo (Dr Glazemakers), Occupational Health Service, Bruges, Belgium; Securex (Dr Kiss), Occupational Health Service, Ghent, Belgium.

We certify that all our affiliations with or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or material discussed in this manuscript (NIH, Wellcome Trust, HHMI and others) are disclosed completely here.

Address correspondence to: Lutgart Braeckman, MD, PhD, Department of Public Health, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185-Block A, 9000 Ghent, Belgium; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine