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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 298-306

Teaching Clinical Skills in Developing Countries: Are Clinical Skills Centres the Answer?

1 Department of Medical Education, University of Sheffield
2 Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Oral Services, St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London Dental School, London

Correspondence Address:
Patsy Stark
Senior Fellow in Medical Education, University of Sheffield, Department of Medical Education, Coleridge House, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Context: There is growing international interest in teaching clinical skills in a variety of contexts, one of which is Clinical Skills Centres. The drivers for change making Skills Centres an important adjunct to ward and ambulatory teaching come both from within and outside medical education. Educationally, self-directed learning is becoming the accepted norm, encouraging students to seek and maximize learning opportunities. There are global changes in healthcare practice, increased consumerism and increasing student numbers. In some countries, professional recommendations influence what is taught. Increasingly, core skills curricula and outcome objectives are being defined. This explicit definition encourages assessment of the core skills. In turn, all students require equal opportunities to learn how to practise the skills safely and competently. The moves towards interprofessional education make joint learning in a ''neutral'' setting, like a Clinical Skills Centre, appear particularly attractive. Objective: To discuss the potential role of Clinical Skills Centres in skills training in developing countries and to consider alternative options. Discussion: Many developing countries seek to establish Clinical Skills Centres to ensure effective and reliable skills teaching. However, the model may not be appropriate, because fully equipped Clinical Skills Centres are expensive to set up, staff, and run. They are not the only way to achieve high quality clinical teaching. Suggested options are based on the philosophy and teaching methods successfully developed in Clinical Skills Centres that may fulfil the local needs to achieve low cost and high quality clinical teaching which is reflective of the local health needs and cultural expectations.

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