Elective courses for medical students during the preclinical curriculum: A systematic review and evaluation

Ankit Agarwal, Stephanie Wong, Suzanne Sarfaty, Anand Devaiah, Ariel E. Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Preclinical medical student electives are prevalent at medical schools across the United States, but the range of electives available and their impact on medical student education are not well described in the literature. The objective of this article is to review the literature relating to preclinical medical student electives and their impact on medical student educational outcomes. Methods: We reviewed studies that met the following criteria: English-language articles describing preclinical US-based medical electives. We used PubMed journal databases and limited our search for the time period 1999-2014.We excluded electives based in other countries or electives designed for third or fourth year students. Data abstracted included the topic of the elective, qualitative descriptions of the electives, and any associated surveys or exam data associated with the electives. Data were synthesized using descriptive tables sorting electives by broad topic. Reported outcomes and statistical methods were analyzed to assess study quality. Results: We found a wide range of subjects taught in the form of preclinical medical school electives. We identified electives in clinical skills, the humanities, student lifestyle, specialty-specific electives, and an assortment of other miscellaneous electives. Surveys and exams administered to students showed that the electives were universally well received by students. Of the 37 electives identified, 15 electives used quantitative objective assessments, such as knowledge exams, while the remaining tended to use student self-reported results. Conclusions: Preclinical medical student electives are prevalent at medical schools across the United States and have a significant impact on medical student education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26615
Number of pages1
JournalMedical Education Online
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • Electives
  • Humanities
  • Medical student
  • Preclinical
  • Undergraduate

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Elective courses for medical students during the preclinical curriculum: A systematic review and evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this