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Keywords:

  • clinical skills training;
  • medical education;
  • neurology clerkship;
  • peer tutoring

Objective:  To determine the efficacy of peer-assisted clinical skills training for students during their neurology clerkship.

Methods:  Students (n = 122) were randomized to get clinical skills training from either student (peer) instructors (experimental group) or from experienced clinical staff (control group). The remaining schedule during the clerkship did not differ between both groups. Primary endpoint was students’ practical skills and knowledge tested at the end of the course by a written test and objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Secondary endpoints were evaluation of the practical training and self-estimated gain in theoretical and practical competence.

Results:  In the written test, the peer-trained group (n = 66) scored 69.5 ± 10.2 (95% CI 67–72) points of 100 and the postgraduates-trained group (n = 56) 66.7 ± 11.4 (95% CI 63.6–69.8) (P = 0.15). In the OSCE the peer-trained group scored 93.7 ± 6.3 (95% CI 92.1 to 95.2) points of 100 and the postgraduates-trained group 92 ± 5.1 (95% CI 90.6 to 93.4) (P = 0.11). In the evaluation and self-assessment items, there was no significant difference between the two groups except for the postgraduates’ higher competence (P = 0.004).

Conclusion:  Peer-trained students pass written exam and OSCE as efficient as postgraduates-trained students. Self-assessed learning success is equally rated in both groups.