Evaluating the effect of physical examination training on the competency of medical students

  • S Hasanzadeh Salmasi Academic staff in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health Services.
  • A Amini Academic staff in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health Services.
  • First Name Sedaghaty Academic staff in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health Services.
  • K. A Shaghaghi Academic staff in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health Services.


Background: The skill to perform physical exam (ph/ex) is a vital aspect of clinical skills needed by physicians. In traditional curricula of medical schools little attention is paid to students' practical skills and more emphasis is put on the cognitive domain of learning.
Purpose: To study the effect of training clinical skills as a part of reformed curricula on the medical students' practical competence.
Methods: In this cross sectional study of 150 medical students who had started their externship after passing the clinical skill course, 50 were randomly selected. A self-assessment questionnaire with Likerts’ scale type items was distributed among the students .Data was analyzed by SPSS and measures of central value and dispersion were utilized for discussion.
Results: The mean for standardized score for the effect of training in the clinical skill course (CSC) on gaining the skill of ph/ex was 51.51(± 23.13) with a median of 50.69, and a range of 83.33-29.17. The value of 25th percentile for the score was 41.66 and the 75th percentile was 58.68.
Conclusion: Integrating the training in CSC with the current curricula in medical schools, will provide the students the opportunity to perform the ph/ex completely and gain an acceptable and high quality professional function which will end in improving the patient satisfaction and reducing the costs of health and treatment services for the individuals, the families and the community.


- Ortiz. Neo C., Walters CA, Tenenbaum J, colliver JA, Schmidt HJ. Error Patterns of 3rd medical students on the cardiovascular physical

examination. Teach Learn Med. 2001 Summer; 13(3); 161-60.

- Schwind CJ, Boehler ML, Folse R, Dvnnington G, Markwell SJ. Development of physical examination skills in a third-year surgical

clerkship. Am J Surg. 2001 Apr; 181(4); 338-40.

- Karnath B, Thornton W, Frye AW. Teaching and testing physical examination skills without the use of patients. Acad Med. 2002 Jul; 77(7);

- Euliano TY. Teaching respiratory physiology clinical correlation with human patient simulatr. J clin Monit comput. 2000; 16(5-6); 456-70.

- Makoul G, Altman M. Early assessment of medical student, clinical skills; Acad Med. 2002 Now; 77(11); 1156.

- Ault GT, Sullivan M, chalabian J, skinner KA. A Focused breast skills workshop improrers the clinical skills of madicla students. J Surg Res.

Aug; 106(2); 303-7.

- Popaliuk C, Pottle M, Curran V. Teaching digital rectal examinations to medical students; an evaluation study of teaching methods. Acad

Med. 2002 Nov; 77(11); 1140-6.

- Glazier RH, Dalby DM, Badley EM, Hawker GA, Bell MJ, Buchbinder R. Determinarts of physician confidence in the primary care management of musculoskeletal disorders. J Rheumatol 1996; 23 : 351-6.

- Lanyon P, Pope D, Croft P. Rheumatology edvcation and management skills in general practice: a national study of trainess. Ann Rheum Dis 1995; 54: 735-9.

- Meier RS, Krause NM, Young PR. Family practical curriculum: how well does it reflect family practical; Fam Med 1985; 17: 147-50.

- Renner BR, Devellis BM, Ennett ST, Friedman CP, Hoyle RH, Crowell WM et al. clinical rheumatology training of primary care physicians: the resident perspective. J Rheumatal 1990; 17: 666-72.

- Smith MA, Gertler T, Freeman K. Medical student's perceptions of their housestaffs' ability to teach physical examination skills. Acad Med.

Jan; 78(1): 80-3.

Original (Research) Articles