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Background: The consent and cooperation of patients regarding involvement of medical students in their care is vital to medical education. The use of ultrasound as a teaching modality is being increasingly incorporated in integrated curriculum by medical schools. Recent transitions in medical curriculum have also promoted early clinical visits to all specialties. Patients’ perceptions towards presence of medical students during ultrasound examination have not been explored in previous studies which mostly reported positive attitudes in respective specialty.
Objective: To explore the attitudes of patients towards presence of medical students during ultrasonography.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted at Radiology department of University of Lahore teaching hospital (ULTH). Two hundred and forty-two patients who came for ultrasound were interviewed during the month of June 2018 using a structured questionnaire.
Results: Two hundred and forty-two patients had answered all the questions with 100% response rate. The mean age of participants was 32.32 years with 57% of females. Majority were Muslims (94.6%) and 71% educated to secondary / university level. Of the patients interviewed, 62% approved the presence of medical students during ultrasonography. 58.3% of the patients agreed to be examined by students under supervision, while 74.4% refused to scan by medical students in the absence of a doctor. Most of the patients (79.3%) knew their right to approve or disapprove students’ presence. 64.9% of patients preferred scanning by student of same gender and among them 96% were females. Two third of the patients realize that it is important for students to scan patients as part of their training but they allow only minimum number of students (1-3) to be present during ultrasound examination.
Conclusion: In general the patients had positive attitudes to the medical students’ involvement during ultrasonography. This study highlights the variation in patients’ attitudes towards medical students according to gender, educational status, religion of patient and number of students. It is important that students and clinical supervisors should be aware of and respect the perceptions and integrity of patients involved in medical education.