Medical student self-efficacy, knowledge and communication in adolescent medicine

Jennifer L. Woods1, Tracie L. Pasold2, Beatrice A. Boateng3 and Devon J. Hensel4

1Division of Adolescent and Transition Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA

2Department of Psychology and Counseling, Marywood University in Scranton, USA

3Office of Education, Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA

Submitted: 08/04/2014; Accepted: 26/07/2014; Published: 20/08/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:165-172; doi: 10.5116/ijme.53d3.7b30

© 2014 Jennifer L. Woods et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: to evaluate student self-efficacy, knowledge and communication with teen issues and learning activities.

Methods: Data were collected during the 8-week pediatric rotation for third-year medical students at a local children's hospital. Students completed a self-efficacy instrument at the beginning and end of the rotation; knowledge and communication skills were evaluated during standardized patient cases as part of the objective structured clinical examination. Self-efficacy, knowledge and communication frequencies were described with descriptive statistics; differences between groups were also evaluated utilizing two-sample t-tests.

Results: Self-efficacy levels of both groups increased by the end of the pediatric rotation, but students in the two-lecture group displayed significantly higher self-efficacy in confidentiality with adolescents (t(35)=-2.543, p=0.02); interviewing adolescents, assessing risk, sexually transmitted infection risk and prevention counseling, contraception counseling were higher with marginal significance. No significant differences were found between groups for communication; assessing sexually transmitted infection risk was marginally significant for knowledge application during the clinical exam.

Conclusions: Medical student self-efficacy appears to change over time with effects from different learning methods; this higher self-efficacy may increase future comfort and willingness to work with this high-risk, high-needs group throughout a medical career.