“The results of this survey below are interesting and show yet another disconnect between what the medical profession and MSers want medical students to learn about MS. This is important in that we need to make sure future generations of doctors are properly trained to address the needs of MSers. I note that MSers want doctors to be aware of social and attitudinal aspects of MS, whereas medical students wanted to know the facts. I remember being told that to be a successful medical student is that you need to be able to take in a regurgitate at will facts and large numbers of facts. With new technological developments, this becomes less important. In other words remembering facts are not that critical anymore and may be the MSers are right.”
Gibson et al. A questionnaire survey comparing the educational priorities of patients and medical students in the management of multiple sclerosis. JRSM Open. 2014 Dec 5;5(12):2054270414558656.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the educational priorities patients and students raise concerning the management of multiple sclerosis (MS).
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 255 people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) and 125 final year medical students attending a mandatory module were invited to participate.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Questionnaires were developed and piloted for this study and analysed on the basis of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health terminology.
RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 125 (50%) pwMS (age range 36-86 years; median 58) and 96 (77%) medical students (age range 22-37 years; median 23). The most commonly reported priority listed by people with MS and students concerned ‘environmental contextual factors’ (95.5% and 99%, respectively). PwMS focused primarily on the ‘social and attitudinal aspects’ of the environment (53.6%), while students expressed greater interest in the use of medications (91.7%) and investigations (14.6%) (p < 0.001). People with greater psychological or physical impact of the condition were more likely to prioritise ‘health condition’ topics.
CONCLUSIONS: PwMS and medical students identify different topics when asked to list aspects of management of MS which they deem to be important for medical student teaching. These differences in educational priorities should be taken into consideration when teaching students about MS. The findings may also apply to other long-term neurological conditions and warrant further investigation.