Final-year medical students not ready for ward

October 5, 2001

Too many medical students have little or no experience of core clinical skills, according to a study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , writes Claire Sanders.

The study by Peter Goodfellow at Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital found that nearly a third of students had never practised passing a urinary catheter, and more than half had "negligible" experience in performing ECGs.

The study asked 122 final-year medical students about eight core skills, including taking blood. Most house officers - newly qualified doctors - said they were regularly expected to practise the eight core skills "despite inadequate training, and with no supervision to ensure correct technique". Sixty-three per cent of house officers said they had never had needlestick training.

The study says: "This is an important issue in view of the risks to healthcare workers from bloodborne pathogens in the workplace."

Mr Goodfellow undertook the study because Sheffield medical students were worried about lack of clinical skills. Skills laboratories for undergraduates and induction courses for house officers have now been introduced.

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