Implementation of a Competency-based Pressure Ulcer Curriculum for Medical Students: Outcomes from an educational intervention study

Maria Hendrika Van Zuilen, Preetha Kamath, Juan Carlos Palacios, Marcio Rotta Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A paucity of research exists on medical student pressure ulcer education. PURPOSE: This study examines medical student competency outcomes following implementation of a competency-based curriculum that included a pressure ulcer component in its educational intervention. METHODS: Over a 5-year period, 645 medical students completed the curriculum, which included a preceptor-led didactic session, online study resources, clinical experiences, and a brief online competency assessment. The assessment involved knowledge of risk factors, wound staging/classification, and prevention and management strategies and included short answer and extended matching questions. A performance standard was set; students not achieving this standard underwent remediation and reassessment. The curriculum was implemented in 3 phases with quality improvement (QI) between each phase. The average competency assessment score and passing rates were determined for each phase. Mean scores for each phase were compared using an analysis of variance test. RESULTS: Mean competency assessment scores increased significantly after each QI from 17.5 (range 11–23) to 18.3 (range 12–24) to 19.8 (range 12–25) in phases 1, 2 and 3, respectively [F(2,642) = 59.502, P <.001]; the performance standard was raised after both QI points. Overall, 8.7% of students underwent remediation and reassessment, but all achieved the performance standard on their second attempt. CONCLUSION: Through a thoughtful QI process that involved carefully aligning all curricular elements (the instructional activities and the assessment), a focused and accountable curriculum was developed that ensured all medical students in the program would achieve a basic level of competency. Increasingly, accreditation agencies are asking medical schools to move toward competency-based curricula. This curriculum represents an important step in this direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalWound Management and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Competency based education
  • Curriculum
  • Medical education
  • Medical students
  • Pressure ulcers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine


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