Undergraduate exposure to urology: impact of the distributed model of medical education in British Columbia
Background: With the increased development of distributed sites for medical education across Canada, it is imperative we ensure that the quality of education is comparable between the different campuses. Our objective was to assess medical student experience and comfort with common urologic clinical encounters and to determine whether any differences exist between the distributed education sites at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Methods: Questionnaires assessing urologic education were delivered simultaneously to all final-year UBC medical students attending campuses in Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: Overall, 55.8% of students felt their exposure to urology was adequate in the medical curriculum; learners in the Northern Program (Prince George) ranked their clinical and didactic experiences significantly higher. Areas requiring improvement include teaching of the male genitourinary exam, digital rectal exam and sexual history, in which learners rated teaching “good/outstanding” in only 18.2%, 47.7% and 43.2% of cases, respectively. Overall, students were most comfortable with the following clinical encounters: urinary tract infection, nephrolithiasis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, hematuria, incontinence and prostate cancer. Few differences in student experience or comfort were noted related to campus site, gender or urology clerkship exposure.
Conclusion: A significant minority of learners perceived that theyhad inadequate exposure to urology in the undergraduate curriculum. Experience in urology was comparable across the distributed sites and was congruent with teaching objectives. Students were comfortable with the clinical scenarios deemed most important in the literature. Learners in the Northern Program were significantly more satisfied with their urologic teaching, which potentially highlights the advantages of learning in a smaller academic setting.
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