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Enhancing medical students` confidence and performance in integrated structured clinical examinations (ISCE) through a novel near-peer, mixed model approach during the COVID-19 pandemic

Baskaran, Ravanth, Mukhopadhyay, Srinjay, Ganesananthan, Sashiananthan, Peramuna Gamage, Movin, Dalavaye, Nishaanth, Ng, Vincent, Bennett, Richard, Srinivasan, Sripradha, Sureshkumarnair, Parvathy, Spencer, Rober, Bhatt, Harsh, Manivannan, Susruta and Zaben, Malik ORCID: 2023. Enhancing medical students` confidence and performance in integrated structured clinical examinations (ISCE) through a novel near-peer, mixed model approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Medical Education 23 (1) , 128. 10.1186/s12909-022-03970-y

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Background: Near-peer medical education serves as an important method of delivering education to junior students by senior students. Due to the reduced clinical exposure because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a mentorship scheme to help medical students with their Integrated Structured Clinical Examinations (ISCEs) by providing a combination of near-peer mentorship together with lecture-based teaching on a weekly basis for a 12-week period. Students attended a specialty-focused lecture every Tuesday followed by a small group teaching session organised by their tutor. Methods: A longitudinal evaluative interventional study was undertaken by the international student led medical education organisation, OSCEazy. The teaching programme was organised and conducted by third year medical students to a recruited cohort of second year medical students. Students’ perceptions of ISCEs (confidence, anxiety, and overall performance) were evaluated using 5-point Likert scales while their knowledge of the specialty was assessed using 10 single best answer questions which were distributed via Google® forms at the start and end of each week. In addition, we assessed tutor perceptions of their teaching and learning experience. Results: Seventy-two tutees were enrolled in the programme (mean age: 24.4, female: 77.8%). 88.9% of the participants had not attended any online ISCE teaching prior to this. They preferred in-person ISCE teaching as compared to virtual sessions [median 4.5 (IQR 4–5) vs 3 (IQR 3–4), p < 0.0001), respectively]. There was a significant overall increase in knowledge when comparing pre-session and post-session performance [mean 53.7% vs 70.7%, p < 0.0001)]. There was a significant increase in student confidence [Confidence: median 3 (IQR:3–4) vs 4 (IQR 3–4), p < 0.0001] while no change was seen in the anxiety and perception of their overall performance in an ISCE. [Anxiety: median 3 (IQR 2–4) vs 3 (IQR 3–4), p = 0.37, Performance: median 3 (IQR 3–4) vs median 3 (IQR 3–4), p < 0.0001]. The tutors reported an increase in their confidence in teaching ISCEs online [median 3 (IQR 2–3.25) vs median 4 (IQR 4–5), p < 0.0001)]. Conclusion: Online near-peer teaching increases the confidence of both tutees and tutors involved while enhancing the tutees’ knowledge of the specialty. Thus, medical schools should incorporate near-peer teaching in their curriculum to enhance the student learning experience.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 16 December 2022
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 20:14

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