Document Type: Letter to Editor

Authors

1 Clinical Neurology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Neurology Department, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Dear editor Today, an important part of the patients’diagnostic activities includes paraclinicaltests and procedures, which follow theircompleted history-taking and clinicalexaminations, in such a way that many medicalscience sources in different fields considerthem to be follow-up activities of clinicalexaminations. This is also the case in the field ofneurology and many of its specialized subfields.For example, in a patient suspected of seizureand epilepsy, an EEG not only helps to identifythe real patient’s problem or disease, but also todiagnose the type of the disease and contributesto decision-making on the type of the drugto use. The EMG/NCV is also necessary forpatients with a possible peripheral neuropathicinvolvement. In most cases, paraclinicalactivities are performed outside the educationalsettings, such as in laboratories or specialprocedure rooms, and students, residents andlearners are only informed about the results ofthose activities without observing how they areactually performed, so they will not learn thatdiagnostic method and will not gain a deepunderstanding of it, to the point that they may beunfamiliar with the necessity of doing that evenduring their practice. This leads in many casesto unnecessary requests or its postponementin essential conditions. Unfortunately, theabove-mentioned problem is found among bothstudents and residents. Moreover, we foundfew appropriate and useful studies in this areadue to the learners’ unfamiliarity with thisscientific area and their lack of interest andmotivation for research in this regard. For theabove reasons, the educational deputy of theNeurology Department of Shiraz University ofMedical Sciences decided to solve this problemthrough a new training course. During the aboveeducational process, the sixth year studentsof medicine in Shiraz University of MedicalSciences, who are receiving training during theirone-month course of neurology, were dividedinto groups of six to eight members, and eachgroup, together with a resident, visited the EEGand EMG/NCV departments of Imam RezaClinic affiliated to Shiraz University of MedicalSciences as a tour lasting for a few hours outsidethe clinical departments and listened to a fulldescription from doctors, personnel and otherprofessionals in these departments. In addition,they closely visited the patients as well as thedevices used in these departments.Investigations show that different units ofmedical education at Iranian universities ofmedical sciences have regularly been visited,but no periodical and regular visits have beenperformed as part of a predetermined curriculum.However, a relatively similar study conducted atShiraz University of Medical Sciences in 2017reported that holding a short-term (one day anda half) practical laboratory training course couldsignificantly increase the students’ experienceand training (1).Other published studies have been in theform of short-term training courses in thelaboratory or pathological sciences rather thanone-or-two-day visits. However, these studies aresimilar to our educational process in that bothare held during a short term with the aim of thestudents’ further familiarity and readiness. Forexample, a study was conducted on fourth-yearmedical students, in which a one-and-a-half-daycourse was designed to familiarize the studentswith paraclinical methods and help them gainexperience in this regard. The results of thisstudy showed that this one-day course was agreat incentive for the training of some selectedparts of medical education (2). Another study wascarried out in 1987 on medical students, showingthat the students’ preliminary familiarity withthe clinical stages can be very effective if thesestages are held in short terms, in small groups,and with a focus on basic issues (3).The Neurology Department of ShirazUniversity of Medical Sciences hopes to achievethe following goals by implementing the abovementionedtraining course:1. Understanding of the above-mentionedprocesses better by attending the patients’ bedsideand observing the processes closely,2. Familiarizing the students with the reasonsfor requesting each of the two above-mentionedprocedures to prevent unnecessary requestsduring the future years of practice,3. Motivating and encouraging the studentsto study the related subjects better and moreaccurately,4. Encouraging the students to do research ineach of the two above-mentioned areas,5. Familiarizing the students with the difficultyof work and possible problems when doing theabove-mentioned investigations and taking theminto consideration in future years of practice, and6. Familiarizing them with the personnel andusing their experiences.

  1. Omidifar N, Keshtkari A, Dehghani M, Shokripour M. Introduction to clinical pathology: A brief course of laboratory medicine in the field for medical students. Journal of Education and Health Promotion. 2017;6:84.
  2. Molinaro RJ, Winkler AM, Kraft CS, Fantz CR, Stowell SR, Ritchie JC, et al. Teaching Laboratory Medicine to Medical Students: Implementation and Evaluation. Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine. 2012;136(11):1423-9.
  3. Strickland-Hodge B. Orientation and training of preclinical medical students in the use of the library*. Health Libraries Review. 1987;4(4):238-43.