An inter-university community child health clinical placement programme for medical students

Maree O'Keefe, Deirdre White, Nicola Spurrier, Nicole Fox

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Inpatient teaching no longer reflects the full spectrum of paediatric practice and community-based programmes with clearly defined aims and evaluation of learning are becoming increasingly important. Competition for community resources poses threats to the delivery of effective community child health learning programmes by individual medical schools. Objectives: To develop and evaluate a combined inter-university, child-focused, active learning programme in community child health. Methods: A total of 55 postgraduate-entry medical students from the Flinders University of South Australia and 97 undergraduate-entry University of Adelaide students were placed with 25 community child health agencies and instructed to assess services from a client perspective by tracking one child and family through multiple agency contacts. Following each placement, achievement of specific programme aims was evaluated by students and agency staff using a 7-point Likert scale. Results: Students and agency staff indicated substantial achievement of programme aims. Mean agency ratings were significantly higher than student ratings for three aims: students' experiencing a wider spectrum of health care problems than in teaching hospitals (5.7 ± 1.5 versus 4.9 ± 1.6, P < 0.001); the importance of social and environmental factors (5.9 ± 1.0 versus 5.2 ± 1.4, P < 0.001), and the importance of coordinating care (6.0 ± 1.0 versus 5.2 ± 1.2, P < 0.001). Ratings from undergraduate-entry students differed from those of postgraduate-entry students only with respect to the importance of social and environmental factors (4.8 ± 1.4 versus 5.7 ± 1.1, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The new collaborative Community Child Health Programme substantially achieved learning aims and demonstrated effective integration of postgraduate- and undergraduate-entry medical students from two universities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)384-390
    Number of pages7
    JournalMedical Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


    • Australia
    • Child welfare
    • Community health services
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Programme evaluation
    • Standards
    • Universities


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