Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 253–258 | Cite as

Positive changes in the medical educational environment following introduction of a new systems-based curriculum: DREEM or reality? Curricular change and the Environment

  • Y. FinnEmail author
  • G. Avalos
  • F. Dunne
Original Article



Evaluation of a new systems-based curriculum in an undergraduate Irish Medical School was carried out with the validated Dundee Ready Educational Environment (DREEM) inventory. Comparison was made with the results from a previous DREEM study in the old curriculum.


DREEM was administered to 225 medical students enrolled in the new curriculum. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS 17.0 and the Student unpaired t test.


Increased mean scores supported greater satisfaction with the educational environment in the new curriculum. Students perceived better opportunities to develop interpersonal skills, ask questions and learn about empathy. Areas of concern included timetabling, support for stressed students and provision of feedback. Clinical students perceived their overall environment more positively. Pre-clinical students were more confident about passing exams and felt better prepared for clinical practice. Male students were more positive about the environment and found the teaching more stimulating. Female students perceived greater development of their problem-solving skills. Non-Irish students no longer perceived the atmosphere and their social self-perceptions more negative than Irish students, as was the case in the old curriculum.


DREEM is a valuable tool in evaluating the educational environment and monitoring the impact of curricular change.


Undergraduate medical curriculum Educational environment Curriculum reform Students’ perceptions Learning environment Curriculum evaluation 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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