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Gender-based education during clerkships: a focus group study

Authors van Leerdam L, Rietveld L, Teunissen D, Lagro-Janssen A

Received 30 October 2013

Accepted for publication 18 November 2013

Published 26 February 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 53—60


Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Lotte van Leerdam, Lianne Rietveld, Doreth Teunissen, Antoine Lagro-Janssen

Department of Primary and Community Care, Gender and Women's Health, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Objectives: One of the goals of the medical master's degree is for a student to become a gender-sensitive doctor by applying knowledge of gender differences in practice. This study aims to investigate, from the students’ perspective, whether gender medicine has been taught in daily practice during clerkship.
Methods: A focus group study was conducted among 29 medical students from Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, who had just finished either their internal medicine or surgical clerkships. Data were analyzed in line with the principles of constant comparative analysis.
Results: Four focus groups were conducted with 29 participating students. Clinical teachers barely discuss gender differences during students’ clerkships. The students mentioned three main explanatory themes: insufficient knowledge; unawareness; and minor impact. As a result, students feel that they have insufficient competencies to become gender-sensitive doctors.
Conclusion: Medical students at our institution perceive that they have received limited exposure to gender-based education after completing two key clinical clerkships. All students feel that they have insufficient knowledge to become gender-sensitive doctors. They suppose that their clinical teachers have insufficient knowledge regarding gender sensitivity, are unaware of gender differences, and the students had the impression that gender is not regarded as an important issue. We suggest that the medical faculty should encourage clinical teachers to improve their knowledge and awareness of gender issues.

Keywords: medical education, clerkship, gender, hidden curriculum, clinical teachers

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