Skip to content

A prescription for reducing medical student stress

iPad in surgery - 560

A second-year medical student blogger once described the process of studying for Part I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as “the black hole that temporarily consumed my life.”

Studying for this exam, which is used to select students for residency positions, can be a burden to already overloaded medical students - especially when the knowledge being tested is different than what is being taught in medical school classrooms.

In a recent article in Academic Medicine, Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education here, and Salman Khan, founder of the non-profit Khan Academy, issue a “call to action” to fix this disconnect between classroom and test content. More specifically, they write:

This is not to suggest that medical school curricula should be designed to “teach to the test.” Rather, there needs to be a conscious alignment between those responsible for creating medical school curricula and the National Board of Medical Examiners. To that end, we propose the creation of a medical school collaborative, charged with the identification of material that would represent a consensus opinion on the core content of the curriculum.

Part of their plan, outlined in a three-part roadmap for “reimagining” medical education is for multiple medical schools to produce and share short multimedia tutorials on foundational content. Students learn from the study materials most compatible with their individual learning styles before class. Then lessons are reinforced and enriched through classroom interactions with faculty and clinicians.

Stanford has been testing this “flipped classroom” approach in biochemistry, and early results have been promising. (See this Inside Higher Education article for details.) Prober and Khan add:

…the convergence of the modern “digital native” learner, exponentially growing biomedical knowledge, and a dated medical education delivery system compel a need to change the way we educate contemporary physicians.

According to Prober, who was a driving force behind the Stanford Medicine Interactive Learning Initiatives, a positive side-effect of these proposed changes should be a more efficient use of medical student time, more effective learning and less stress.

Previously: Combining online learning and the Socratic method to reinvent medical school courses, Using the “flipped classroom” model to re-imagine medical education, Rethinking
the “sage on stage” model in medical education
and Stanford professors propose re-imagining medical education with “lecture-less” classes
Photo from SMILI

Popular posts