Background: In Oslo, Norway, medical students have a 6 week clinical period at the end of their 5th year of education, where they are situated in a general practice and are guided by general practitioners. Students have consultations with their own patients and at the end of the period, their performance is supposed to be evaluated by the general practitioner. Many students complaine about a lack of feedback and guidance.
Objecive: To determine whether patients can be used in the evaluation of students, if questionaries can be used to increase the amount of feedback and to see if medical students judge themselves too hard.
Methods: In the spring of 2005, 10th semester medical students in Oslo were informed about the project and participation was voluntary. Those who participated got 20 questionaries to take with them to their general practice. Those were to be filled out by randomly selected patients after student-patient consultations. In addition they were given 5 tripple questionaries to be filled out by the patient, student and the general practitioner after a consultation where the general practitioner observed the student examinating the patient. 16 of the students who participated were interwiewed in two groups before and after the project started. A group of students who didn´t participate were also interviewed. After the clinical period the students and the general practitioners gave their opinions about the use of the questionaries. Students also gave their opinions about the clinical period in general.
Results: 36 of 84 students participated in this project. The patient´s and the general praticitoner´s evaluation of the students were mostly similar and there was a significant difference in only two out of seven questions. The students evaluated themselves lower than patients. Both the students and the general practitioners are not certain that the project helped to improve the clinical period. Students were mostly satisfied with the clinical period in general.
Conclusion: Our study indicates that patients can be used in the evaluation of students during their clinical period in a general practice, and that tripple questionaries could help to improve the quality of this period by securing that the students get the amount of fedback they require. The project also indicates that medical students do judge themselves too hard.