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Should critical care medicine be a formal part of the undergraduate curriculum?

  • Author(s): Tewari, K
  • Steiger, R
  • Monk, B
  • Scannell, G
  • Tominaga, G
  • Waxman, K
  • et al.
Abstract

Medical students were surveyed shortly after completing the third year of medical school. The survey was designed to identify those areas of critical care medicine students had been exposed to and expressed interest in learning more about. In addition, the surveys sought to discern the level of confidence students felt with respect to different critical illnesses and intensive care unit (ICU) therapeutic modalities. Finally, the students were asked their opinion regarding the possibility or need for critical care medicine as part of their medical school curriculum. The three most common topics of interest among medical students who had recently finished their third year in medical school were shock, hemodynamic monitoring, and mechanical ventilation. Less than 30% of the students surveyed felt 'better- than-average' confidence on any one of a number of critical care topics and treatment modalities. Of the 80% of students (n = 70) who completed the survey, 91% (n = 64) felt that critical care medicine should be made a part of the medical school curriculum, 6% (n = 4) felt it should not, and 3% (n = 2) were undecided. The survey results and the finding that most of the relevant literature acknowledges the need for critical care medicine in medical school has led us to conclude that a national core clerkship or a didactic lecture series in critical care medicine should be carefully designed and implemented into the undergraduate curriculum.

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