Patients don't mind inexperienced students
- By: Karen Hebert
Medical students' inexperience in performing minor procedures does not put patients off giving their consent to undergoing the procedure, a study has found (Medical Education 2005;39:365-9). Sally Santen and colleagues from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found that 90% of patients gave their consent to a medical student performing a minor procedure on them, even when informed that it was the student's first time.
The researchers recruited 114 patients needing minor procedures, such as intravenous access, splinting, suturing, and six first year clinical medical students to carry them out. They first surveyed the patients about their perceptions of medical students performing procedures. Only 48% of participants knew they could be the first patient on whom a medical student might perform a procedure. Two thirds (66%) thought that they should be told if a student was performing his or her first procedure on them.
They gave the students a script