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Teaching Concepts for the Course “Vocational Exploration”: Appraisal by First-Year Students

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0271-0276

german translation / full article

Heinz Harald Abholz, Stefan Wilm, Michael Pentzek, Achim Mortsiefer, Simone Weyers, Thomas Rotthoff

Keywords: Vocational Exploration Medical Education Curriculum Development

Introduction: There are no uniform specifications for the design of the obligatory course “vocational exploration” in German undergraduate medical education. Consequently, diverse teaching concepts are realized at the medical faculties. One group of concepts gives an overview of possible fields of work for doctors. The other group focuses on a deeper examination of a medical key competence like doctor-patient communication. How do first-year medical students appraise these concepts?

Methods: Questionnaire study in 198 first-year medical students at the University of Düsseldorf: Written descriptions of four different teaching concepts (two concepts focussing on possible fields of work and two concepts focussing on a key competence) should to be put into a rank order of their personal preference. Analysis of the mean ranks of the four concepts (Friedman test) and of the relationship between student characteristics and preferred concept (logistic regression).

Results: Among the four concepts, a broad overview by means of consultations in several medical settings is the favoured one. An overview in seminars and concepts with focus on competence in communication or chronic illness are significantly ranked lower. There were no significant relationships between student characteristics and concept preference.

Discussion: Following the results may imply reassessing the focus on educational goals from general practice like communication or chronic illness. Especially in universities with a minor role of general practice within the curriculum, students’ preferences have to be balanced against own purposes of curricular positioning.


(State: 13.05.2015)

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