Learning together: clinical skills teaching for medical and nursing students

Kay Tucker, Ann Wakefield, Caroline Boggis, Mary Lawson, Trudie Roberts, Jane Gooch
Medical Education 2003, 37 (7): 630-7

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of shared learning of clinical skills for medical and nursing students at the University of Manchester.

DESIGN: Medical and nursing students learned clinical skills in either uniprofessional or multiprofessional groups. These groups rotated through skills stations taught by multiprofessional facilitators. The groups stayed together for a series of 3 sessions held at weekly intervals (an induction meeting followed by 2 3-hour teaching sessions). Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to evaluate the project.

CONTEXT: A total of 113 Year 3 students registered on the Medical (n = 41), Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) (n = 43) or the Diploma for Professional Studies in Nursing (n = 29) courses participated in the project which was set in the clinical skills unit of a teaching hospital.

RESULTS: Pre- and post self-evaluation of confidence levels for the taught skills revealed a statistically significant increase for all skills. The primary reason students gave for participation in the project was to learn or consolidate skills. An additional inducement for participation was the opportunity to share knowledge and observations between professional groups. Tutors also evaluated the experience favourably, particularly with regard to small group discussions. They indicated that the programme provided an opportunity to standardise clinical skills teaching.

CONCLUSION: Collaborative learning opportunities for nursing and medical students are feasible and add value to the learning experience. Data indicate positive outcomes of learning in multiprofessional groups, comprising increased confidence levels, increased understanding of others' professional roles and personal development.

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