The undergraduate medical students’ perception of student-doctor approach training for diabetic retinopathy screening

Prabhu Venkatesan, Soumendra Sahoo, Rajiv Gupta, Saurabh Shrivastava


Introduction: To explore the perception of Undergraduate medical students on ‘STUDENT-DOCTOR’ approach of learning at a community clinic during diabetic retinopathy screening.

Materials and Methods: This was a sequential explanatory mixed method design to explore the benefits as perceived by 104 fourth year medical undergraduates who were enrolled for the study at the community clinic where they were trained through student-doctor approach. The quantitative analysis was done through survey questions on a five Likert scale. Open ended semi structured interview questions were used to further explore student’s perception on this new method of learning.

Results: The average score to the statements such as improvement in communication skill & clinical examination skills were 4.27 & 4.41 respectively. All participants strongly agreed that this approach was helpful for their future clinical practice. During qualitative analysis it was found that the majority of students expressed that the learning was meaningful for its long-term effect and its implication on general practice. Most of the participants expressed that the techniques helped them in understanding of the complex mix of physical, emotional, and social elements in holistic and personalized patient care. One respondent mentioned “Hands on experience helped me retain better & I learnt from my mistake…”. Another one described “the exposure gave an idea of real life practice which will do in future to screen diabetic retinopathy…”. Lot of students felt that such method of learning was fun and interactive as it was not just sitting in a classroom or behind a desk studying a disease and its pathophysiology but getting the feel of real life experiences. The preceptors felt the method satisfying as they could do work place assessment on the learners.

Conclusions: Community based education through hands on training is effective as it makes the learning authentic by looking into implication at real life practice. We recommend to give more stress to train medical students on diabetic retinopathy screening at community settings using this unique methodology.

Keywords: Student-doctor, Community, Learning, Diabetic retinopathy, Screening.

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