[Intensive care medicine as a component of the compulsory medical curriculum. Evaluation of a pilot curriculum at the University Hospital Aachen]

S K Beckers, S Rex, R Kopp, J Bickenbach, S Sopka, R Rossaint, R Dembinski
Der Anaesthesist 2009, 58 (3): 273-9, 282-4

BACKGROUND: In order to provide early achievement of practical experience during medical education, the medical faculty of the university Aachen has developed a new medical school curriculum which was offered in 2003 for the first time. In this curriculum anaesthesiology became a compulsory subject with practical training both in the operation theatre and in emergency medicine. Accordingly, a practical course in the field of intensive care medicine has also been designed with respect to the planned schedule and personnel resources. This course was evaluated by both students and teaching staff in a written, anonymous form as a quality control.

METHODS: A dedicated course was developed for medical students of the 8th and 9th semesters. In this course comprised of 6 students and lasting 1 week, practical training is provided by intensive care physicians and accompanied by theoretical lessons focusing on the definition, diagnosis, therapy and prophylaxis of sepsis, essentials of mechanical ventilation and patient presentation at the bedside during daily rounds. On the last day of training students were required to present patients by themselves thereby recapitulating the acquired knowledge. In the summer semester 2007 this intensive care training course was offered for the first time. All participating 83 students and 23 physicians involved in teaching evaluated the course with marks from 1 to 6 according to the standard German school grading system using an online questionnaire.

RESULTS: Students rated the course with 1.6+/-0.7 (mean +/- SD) for comprehensibility, with 1.6+/-0.7 for structural design, and with 1.7+/-0.7 for agreement between teachers. They graded their personal learning success with 1.7+/-0.7. With a cumulative mark of 1.7+/-0.6, the course was ranked as 1 of the top 3 courses of the medical faculty from the very beginning. The majority of the teaching staff (80%) appreciated the focus on few selected teaching subjects. However, comprehensibility, structural design, agreement between teachers and personal learning success were graded one mark worse than by the students.

CONCLUSIONS: According to the results, efficiency and acceptance of intensive care training courses were high. Major criteria for the high grading were a limited number of participants, the focus on few subjects, and a clear structural design. However, according to several personal notes from the students, simulation-based sessions and written teaching material might further improve success of this course.

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