A comparison of performance by medical and midwifery students in multiprofessional teaching


Theresa Wilson Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland



At Dundee University, midwifery and medical students are taught obstetrics together in a 2-week intensive course. We set out to test the hypothesis that staff time and effort could be saved by using shared resources in teaching a multidisciplinary group of students to an acceptable level.


In order to measure the knowledge gain by two different groups of students, we tested the students before and after a timetabled computer-assisted learning (CAL) session focusing on how to interpret a cardiotocograph (CTG). Also, half of each student group was given extra CTG teaching before the CAL session.


The medical students (n=38) increased their median score from 9 to 17 after the CAL (< 0·001) but the midwifery students (n=13) only increased their median score from 12 to 14 after the CAL (n.s.). However, when given a tutorial and CAL, the post-test scores for both medical and midwifery students were similar and significantly higher than pre-test scores (median score increase from 8·5 to 18 for medical students, < 0·001, n=34, and from 9 to 16 for midwifery students, < 0·01 n=11). There was no significant knowledge gain by the medical students who undertook the additional tutorial.


We conclude that shared resources could be used by medical and midwifery students to reach equivalent levels of skill in CTG interpretation. However, in order to achieve equivalence, staff time and effort was wasted as medical students were given unnecessary tuition.