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Buckley, L;Curtin, M;Cornally, N;Harford, K;Gibson, L
Medical Science Educator
Exploring Undergraduate Medical Student Experiences of Training Within a Community-Based Paediatric Clinic
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Background Undergraduate medical education in Ireland comprises of clinical training largely within teaching hospitals, with less emphasis on training in community settings. Studies show a move beyond traditional models of training is needed, particularly in the domain of community child health. A multi-agency, inter-disciplinary community paediatric clinic was established in a disadvantaged area of southern Ireland. Kidscope provides health and developmental assessment for children aged 0-6 years and acts as a training clinic for medical students who complete a one day placement during the final year of their undergraduate medical degree. The aim of this study was to capture student experiences and to understand the perceived impact of community-based training on undergraduate medical education.Methods A descriptive study design was used. Research tools included a mixed-methods online questionnaire and qualitative reflective essays. Microsoft Excel generated descriptive statistics from quantitative questionnaire responses. Braun and Clarke's framework guided thematic analysis of qualitative data. Data integration and reporting were conducted in line with mixed-methods research design standards.Results Fifty-two medical students consented to participate. Thirty-two (62%) responded to the online questionnaire. Twenty reflective essays were randomly selected. Ninety-four percent felt the clinic provided an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills, 96% reported the experience strongly improved their understanding of child health and development, and 90% reported the experience was extremely valuable to their overall learning. Qualitative analysis showed engagement with a vulnerable population in the community increased student knowledge, informed practice, and heightened awareness of social deprivation and its impact on child development.Conclusion Exposure to a community-based paediatric clinic influenced undergraduate medical student training through experiential and transformative learning. Our experience of teaching clinical skills in the community could be replicated across medical fields to the benefit of the wider community.
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