Reforming the 4th-Year Curriculum as a Springboard to Graduate Medical Training: One School’s Experiences and Lessons Learned

Andrew Wackett, Feroza Daroowalla, Wei Hsin Lu, Latha Chandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Problem: Concerns regarding the quality of training in the 4th year of medical school and preparation of graduates to enter residency education persist and are borne out in the literature. Intervention: We reviewed the published literature regarding Year 4 concerns as well as institutional efforts to improve the 4th-year curriculum from several schools. Based on input from key stakeholders, we established 4 goals for our Year 4 curriculum reform: (a) standardize the curricular structure, (b) allow flexibility and individualization, (c) improve the preparation for residency, and (d) improve student satisfaction. After the reform, we evaluated the outcomes using results from the Association of American Medical Colleges Questionnaire, student focus groups, and program director surveys. Context: This article describes the context, process, and outcomes of the reform of the Year 4 curriculum at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Outcome: We were able to achieve all four stated goals for the reform. The significant components of the change included a flexible adaptable curriculum based on individual needs and preferences, standardized learning objectives across the year, standardized competency-based evaluations regardless of discipline, reinforcement of clinical skills, and training for the transition to the workplace as an intern. The reform resulted in increased student satisfaction, increased elective time, and increased preparedness for residency training as perceived by the graduates. The Program Director survey showed significant changes in ability to perform a medical history and exam, management of common medical conditions and emergencies, clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills, working and communication with the healthcare team, and overall professionalism in meeting obligations inherent in the practice of medicine. Lessons Learned: Lessons learned from our 4th-year reform process are discussed. Listening to the needs of the stakeholders was an important step in ensuring buy-in, having an institutional champion with an organizational perspective on the overall institutional mission was helpful in building the guiding coalition for change, building highly interactive collaborative interdisciplinary teams to work together addressed departmental silos and tunnel vision early on, and planning a curriculum is exciting but planning the details of the implementation can be quite tedious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-201
Number of pages10
JournalTeaching and learning in medicine
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 4th-year curriculum
  • curriculum reform
  • preparation for residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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