The Impact of a Medical Student Exchange Program on Students’ Clinical and Research Performance: A Subjective Evaluation Study

Abstract

Background: International exchange programs can expose medical students to learning experiences in different health care systems. Exchange programs are considered to be an effective practice that strengthens students’ clinical skills and introduces them to new paradigms in addition to augmenting their self-confidence. King Fahad Medical City’s Faculty of Medicine, governed by King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, is one of the few medical colleges in Saudi Arabia that provides international training experiences for medical students. Objective: To evaluate the effects of a medical student exchange program on students’ medical and research skills. Methods: A case-control study conducted using a questionnaire survey. Questions addressed participants’ clinical, academic and research skills as well as future careers after the program; answers were scored on Likert scales. The control group consisted of students who did not enter the program. Results: A total of 86 participants were included in the final analysis. The majority of students believed that the program improved their clinical confidence when dealing with patients (82.5%), their clinical skills (85%), their communication skills (87%) and their involvement with the medical team (80%). Most of the students who participated in the program also agreed that it improved their clinical knowledge (87.5%), improved their grades in college (45%) and affected their future career choices. More than one-half of the students stated that the program improved their awareness of research. The program significantly improved academic performance and research awareness from the participants’ viewpoint (P=0.028). Conclusion: The student exchange program is a promising program that positively affects at least students’ perception of their confidence, attitude and future career choices. The results of the present study collectively support the efficacy of the program and demonstrate that it would be a valid suggestion for such a program to become more nationalized.

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Correspondence to Mohammad M. Alshardan MBBS.

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Alshardan, M.M., Sabbagh, A.J. The Impact of a Medical Student Exchange Program on Students’ Clinical and Research Performance: A Subjective Evaluation Study. Med.Sci.Educ. 23, 578–582 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03341683

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Keywords

  • Medical Student
  • Academic Performance
  • Clinical Skill
  • Medical Science Educator
  • Promising Program