Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 929–933 | Cite as

Impact of a Pre-Clinical Clinical Skills Curriculum on Student Performance in Third-Year Clerkships

  • Molly Blackley JacksonEmail author
  • Misbah Keen
  • Marjorie D. Wenrich
  • Doug C. Schaad
  • Lynne Robins
  • Erika A. Goldstein
Original Article



Research on the outcomes of pre-clinical curricula for clinical skills development is needed to assess their influence on medical student performance in clerkships.


To better understand the impact of a clinical-skills curriculum in the pre-clinical setting on student performance.


We conducted a non-randomized, retrospective, pre-post review of student performance evaluations from 3rd-year clerkships, before and after implementation of a clinical-skills curriculum, the Colleges (2001–2007).


Comparisons of clerkship performance data revealed statistically significant differences favoring the post-Colleges group in the Internal Medicine clerkship for 9 of 12 clinical-skills domains, including Technical Communication Skills (p < 0.023, effect size 0.16), Procedural Skills (p < 0.031, effect size 0.17), Communication Skills (p < 0.003, effect size 0.21), Patient Relationships (p < 0.003, effect size 0.21), Professional Relationships (p < 0.021, effect size 0.17), Educational Attitudes (p < 0.001, effect size 0.24), Initiative and Interest (p < 0.032, effect size 0.15), Attendance and Participation (p < 0.007, effect size 0.19), and Dependability (p < 0.008, effect size 0.19). Statistically significant differences were identified favoring the post-Colleges group in technical communication skills for three of six basic clerkships (Internal Medicine, Surgery, and Pediatrics).


Implementation of a pre-clinical fundamental skills curriculum appears to be associated with improved clerkship performance in the 3rd year of medical school, particularly in the Internal Medicine clerkship. Similar curricula, focused on teaching clinical skills in small groups at the bedside with personalized mentoring from faculty members, may improve student performance. Continued efforts are needed to understand how to best prepare students for clinical clerkships and how to evaluate outcomes of similar pre-clinical skills programs.


medical education clinical skills medical students pre-clinical curriculum 



Funding support for Dr. Jackson for her work in medical education research and program evaluation comes from the Office of the CEO and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. Funding support for Dr. Keen for his work as a UW College faculty member is provided by UW School of Medicine.

Conflicts of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly Blackley Jackson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Misbah Keen
    • 2
  • Marjorie D. Wenrich
    • 3
  • Doug C. Schaad
    • 4
  • Lynne Robins
    • 4
  • Erika A. Goldstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical History and Biomedical InformaticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medical Education and Biomedical InformaticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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