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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 148

The Educational Environment and Selfperceived Clinical Competence of Senior Medical Students in a Malaysian Medical School

International Medical University, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
N M Lai
Clinical School Batu Pahat, International Medical University, 12, Jalan Indah, Taman Sri Kenangan, Batu Pahat, 83000 Johor Darul Takzim
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20029744

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Introduction: The educational environment is widely considered to be a major factor affecting students' motivation and learning outcomes. Although students' perceptions of their educational environment are often reported, we are unaware of any published reports that relate this information to students' clinical competence, either self-perceived or objectively measured. Objectives: We aimed to correlate students' perceptions of their learning environment and their self-perceived competence in clinical, practical and personal skills, using validated scales. Methods: Subjects included a cohort of 71 final-year medical students who were posted to a peripheral campus affiliated with a district hospital. Two questionnaires were administered concurrently: a modified DREEM (50 items) to assess the learning environment and an abbreviated IMU Student Competency Survey (29 items) to examine self-perceived competence across a wide range of skills and work-readiness. We correlated the major domains in both surveys using Spearman's Correlation. Findings: Fifty-nine students (83%) completed the questionnaires. Comparing correlations of the five major domains of the modified DREEM questionnaire ("Perception of learning", "Perception of teachers", "Academic self-perception", "Perception of atmosphere" and "Social self-perception") with all subscales in the abbreviated IMU Student Competency Survey (clinical, practical, personal skills and overall work-readiness), we found that academic self-perception domain had the strongest correlations (r:0.405 to 0.579, p:0.002 to < 0.001) and perception of teachers bears the weakest correlations (r:0.171 to 0.284, p:0.254 to 0.031). Self-perceived competence in practical skills in the IMU Student Competency Survey correlated the weakest with all domains of the modified DREEM (r:0.206 to 0.405, p:0.124 to 0.002). Discussion and conclusion: The overall weak-to-moderate correlations between perceptions of learning environment and selfperceived clinical competence suggest that other factors might interact with the learning environment to determine students' confidence and achievements.

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