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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impact of Resident-Paired Schedule on Medical Student Education and Impression of Residency Programs


Introduction: Clinical rotations in emergency medicine (EM) can be challenging for medical students because of the lack of continuity with attending physicians. To overcome this challenge, institutions have started to match a student’s schedule with that of a resident, referred to as “paired shifts.” We sought to pilot and compare two schedule formats for fourth-year medical students (MS4) – a resident-paired shifts (RPS) and a traditional resident-unpaired shifts (RUS) schedule.

Methods: This prospective, crossover trial included MS4s rotating in the emergency department over four consecutive four-week blocks. Each MS4 was assigned two weeks using the RUS schedule and two weeks with the RPS schedule, alternating the format order each month. At the end of the rotation students were anonymously surveyed regarding the differences in learning experience, their ability to showcase their knowledge and clinical skills, and familiarity with the residency program with the two formats.

Results: The response rate was 47 of 58 students (84%). Respondents indicated that RPS resulted in more teaching time (64.6% RPS vs 8.3% RUS), a better overall educational experience (68.8% RPS vs 8.3% RUS), and a greater ability to showcase their medical knowledge (52.1% RPS vs 6.3% RUS). Additionally, students felt that the program was better able to evaluate them (66.7% RPS vs 10.4% RUS) and they were better able to better evaluate the program (66.7% RPS vs 6.3% RUS) in the RPS format.

Conclusions: When compared to traditional RUS during an MS4 rotation, a RPS format provided students with the perception of an improved learning experience, ability to showcase knowledge, and familiarity with the residency program without sacrificing teaching from attending physicians.

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