Exploring correlation between early clinical skills teaching and self-reported competence of senior medical students; a cross-sectional study

Emmanouil Smyrnakis, Maria Moiragenti, Frideriki Sifaki, Apostolos Tsapas


Introduction: Simulation-based teaching combined with supervised clinical practice, are the necessary steps for safe and systematic clinical skills education. Building medical students’ self-esteem during their undergraduate studies has a positive effect in their competence but is not sufficient to ensure successful clinical skills performance. The aim of the study was to assess senior medical students’ self-reported competence before graduation in basic clinical skills and explore potential correlations with early simulation-based clinical skills teaching. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in final-year medical students one month before their graduation. We invited senior medical students to self-report their competence in 42 basic clinical skills using an online anonymous questionnaire. Medical students’ participation in the clinical skills lab (CSL) elective course was the main factor of analysis. Results: Senior medical students’ response rate in our electronic study was 24.6%. Thirty-four students (38.6%) have attended CSL elective course. Attending CSL seemed to influence senior medical students’ self-reported competence in performing the 15 skills taught in the elective course in comparison with students who have not attended it (p>0.05). There was no statistical difference between the two groups in regard to other basic skills that were not taught in the CSL. Conclusion: Our results indicate that senior medical students do not feel competent enough to perform basic clinical skills that the undergraduate medical curricula should cover. Systematic clinical skills teaching in early years of medical studies before patient contact seemed to be enough to change senior medical students’ self-reported competence in specific clinical skills.


Clinical skills, self-reported competence, undergraduate medical education

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