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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 87-96

How do Australian Doctors with Different Pre-medical School Backgrounds Perform as Interns?

1 University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA
2 University of Newcastle, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Newcastle, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Michael R Grey
Office of Continuing Education, MC 1912, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-1912
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: To assess whether there is any advantage to be gained with respect to performance in the first year of postgraduate medical training (internship) by selecting medical school candidates with different educational backgrounds. Specifically, we were interested in comparing the performance ratings of interns who entered medical school with secondary (directly from high school) or tertiary (at least one year of a university degree) level educational backgrounds. Focus: We compared the performance ratings of interns according to the subjects or degree undertaken at a secondary or tertiary level, respectively. The effects of age and gender were also examined to determine their influence on performance ratings. Method: All graduates (N=235) from the University of Newcastle Medical School, Australia who commenced their intern year in the state of New South Wales from 1993 to 1996 inclusive were eligible for the study. The outcome measure was a score derived from a valid and reliable clinical supervisor rating scale. Independent variables were level of previous educational experience (secondary or tertiary entry), and subjects studied by secondary level entrants (predominantly science or equal proportions of humanities and science) and degree undertaken by tertiary level entrants (arts or science or allied health or nursing). Results: The records of 173 (73% of eligible sample) were included in the analyses. There were no significant differences between the mean ratings of interns with respect to previous educational background, subjects studied at secondary school or degree undertaken. Age and gender did not significantly affect performance ratings. Conclusion: These data may be useful for medical schools that are considering a shift in admission policy specifically with respect to requirements for level of educational experience and subject or degree prerequisites. Our data suggest that there may be no disadvantage in admitting students with a broad range of pre-medical school educational backgrounds with respect to performance in the early postgraduate years.

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