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Early Patient Contact: Exploring the horizons in Physiology

Arunita Tushar Jagzape, Avinash Taksande, Swati Kulsange, Tushar Jagzape.


Background: Principles in Physiology should be understood by the medical students to relate with context of disease, but the first year of medical career is taught mainly by didactic lectures and tutorials with little or no exposure to patients.

Objectives: The aim is to find the effect of early patient contact in increasing the ability of students to correlate physiological principles with clinical scenario, in improvement of communication and clinical examination skills, and to explore perception of students regarding the effectiveness of early patient contact.

Materials and Methods: This was a post-test only control group design with convenience sampling involving a batch with 26 participants in control group and study group (respiratory system [RS]) and after crossing over, 28 participants in study and control group (cardiovascular system [CVS]). The intervention group received the routine clinical teaching and early patient contact, whereas the control group received routine clinical teaching and revision. Feedback was collected using validated questionnaire followed by focus group discussion.

Results: The difference in post-test scores in RS and CVS of control and study was statistically significant (t = 10.99, P = 0.0001; t = 6.90, P = 0.0001). The results were statistically significant when the knowledge, skill, and attitude were compared among study and control group in RS and CVS with the exception of attitude in CVS which was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Early patient contact was a method that helped students understand the principles and relevance of physiology; provided an early experience in terms of knowledge and skills and an enriching experience of a doctor–patient relationship indirectly.

Key words: Early Patient Contact; Focus Group Discussion; Communication Skills; Clinical Examination Skills

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