Researchers incorporate multisite geriatric clerkship

October 1, 2009

(Boston) -As the population ages, it is imperative that medical students are prepared to treat older adults, regardless of their specialty. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) report that an interdisciplinary multisite fourth-year geriatrics clerkship, has successfully met all the ambulatory core geriatric competencies as outlined by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) working group. This report appears in the October Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Individuals 65 years and older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. To this end, the AAMC and the John A. Hartford Foundation have established core competencies in geriatrics for all graduating and recently released 26 minimum geriatrics competencies. This includes medication management, cognitive and behavioral disorders, self-care capacity, balance and gait disorders, healthcare planning and hospital care for older adults. These competencies address the need for all physicians to recognize the unique health concerns that the elderly face.

BUSM researchers incorporated these competencies into a clerkship for fourth-year medical students. The students spend one month, accompanying clinicians on visits to skilled nursing facilities, clinics and home care settings. Under the supervision of a member of the interdisciplinary team, students are assigned two to three patients. The patients span a broad range of diagnoses, health status and goals of care including palliative and end-of-life care. Medical students are exposed to the interdisciplinary model that is central to geriatrics. The goal is to provide skills and knowledge ensuring that graduating students can provide appropriate care in a variety of settings.

The BUSM curriculum employs multiple teaching methods, such as lectures, online materials and interactive workshops. A weekly geriatrics conference series uses evidence-based reviews, a geriatric fellow-led journal club and outside speakers who address new research and clinical updates focuses on geriatrics.

At the end of the clerkship all fourth-year med students' can evaluate and manage syndromes and diseases common in older patients, possess working knowledge of aging, provide physical examinations and history taking of older patients with sensory, functional and cognitive impairments.

Students are assessed using quizzes based on the online dementia and delirium curriculum. At the end of the clerkship, they are given an exam covering the core lecture series and are also required to submit a write up of an Evidence Based Medicine paper. The BUSM fourth-year graduating class's response rate for the AAMC graduation questionnaire was 78.5 to 90.8 reporting that they agree or strongly agree they had learned the key geriatric concepts.

"Since its inception, the clerkship has met all of the ambulatory core geriatric competencies," explained lead author Daniel J. Oates, MD, MSc, an assistant professor of medicine at BUSM Geriatrics Section. "Students' in the program mastered the core competencies as shown by their responses to the questionnaires," he adds.

Source: Boston University Medical Center

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.