Early Introduction Of Clinical Skills On Medical School Performance

Objectives: Clinical skills have remained an integral part of medical education since the early twentieth century. Clinical skills training during basic science semesters have proven beneficial for students in the preparation for their clinical rotations. The aim of this study was to determine the student’s perspectives on early introduction to clinical skills during basic sciences semesters. The study also evaluated the current structure and efficacy of the clinical skills classes at their respective institutions. 
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted among the students currently enrolled in basic sciences at different Caribbean medical schools. 
Results: 89.9% of students agreed that clinical skills would be a beneficial component in their medical education and should be a part of the basic science curriculum. 77.5% of the students stated that they would be willing to begin hospital exposure in the first term of the basic sciences curriculum. Most of the students’ responded that early exposure of clinical skills in medical school starting from the preclinical years would make them more confident with patient interactions and build strong clinical foundation
Conclusion: Students perceived early introduction to clinical skills during the basic science semesters to be beneficial for improved patient interactions. These classes would aid in the acquisition of several skills which were identified as being necessary prior to beginning the clinical years. Early introduction of clinical skills starting from pre-clinical years is necessary to develop competent, scientific, modern and ethical approaches in students to interact with patients. Therefore future research is warranted to consolidate these finding and develop strategies for effective delivery of clinical skills.
Keywords   Clinical skill, preclinical, effectiveness, education, medical, clinical competency.