The Education of Medical Students in Human Factors – A National Survey
Keywords:Interprofessional education, Medical education, Health communication, Medical Students
Background: The importance of human factors (HF) has been highlighted recently by the General Medical Council’s decision to include it in their processes for evaluating fitness to practice. Medical school is vital for embedding concepts into medical practice, but little is known about the rigor and extent to which HF is taught across United Kingdom (UK) medical schools.
Methods: Cross-sectional study assessing HF among medical students in the UK. An 8-question survey was designed and disseminated nationally using the Qualtrics platform. Respondents were asked for their existing knowledge and perception of HF, education throughout medical school and relevant demographic factors.
Results: The survey was completed by 304 medical students from 12 UK medical schools. In total, 45.7% of respondents had never heard of HF as a concept. Furthermore, 96.9% of respondents deemed the concept of HF as very important to medicine and future clinical practice. Moreover, simulated scenarios, one-to-one and small group teaching emerged as the most effective teaching methods, whilst many students agreed this teaching should occur in the early stages of medical education. Lastly, communication and teamwork were perceived to be the most important aspects of HF.
Conclusion: These findings reveal a lack of awareness regarding HF among UK medical students. New strategies are needed to ensure the doctors of tomorrow are equipped with the necessary tools to implement and deliver safer, more effective patient care.
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