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Improvements in CanMEDS competencies for medical students in an interdisciplinary and voluntary setting

Authors Vildbrad MD, Lyhne JM

Received 24 September 2014

Accepted for publication 7 November 2014

Published 12 December 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 499—505

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S74876

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Mads Dam Vildbrad, Johanne Marie Lyhne

International Medical Cooperation Committee, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Background: To practice medicine, doctors must master leadership, communication, team management, and collaboration, in addition to medical knowledge. The CanMEDS framework describes seven roles of a doctor, but the six nonmedical expert roles are de-emphasized in the academic medical curriculum. Innovative opportunities are needed for medical students to develop as participants in a world of interdisciplinary health care.
Methods: We founded a volunteer-based, interdisciplinary, student-run project called SUNDdag (HEALTHday) with 60 students from 12 different educational backgrounds. To evaluate the learning outcomes of the project, we conducted a cross-sectional study using an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire.
Results: Students joined the project due to it being health-promoting, volunteer-based, and interdisciplinary. The medical students reported a significant increase of skills in all seven roles except for “medical expert”. They reported an increased understanding of the non-health-related students' skills.
Conclusion: In their future careers, medical students must collaborate with health care professionals in a team-based approach to patient care and with non-health-related professionals in administrative tasks. Interdisciplinary volunteer-based initiatives like SUNDdag are potential platforms for medical students to improve their CanMEDS competencies. We encourage students to initiate similar projects and we encourage faculties to support volunteer-based, interdisciplinary initiatives due to their favorable cost-benefit ratio.

Keywords: medical education, voluntarism, interprofessional education, medical students

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