Seema Ashraf, Saba Idrees, Iftikhar Qayum


Introduction: The training of medical students involves incremental interaction with patients in both hospital and community environments, some aspects of which may not be acceptable to patients, especially females of rural communities. The present study was undertaken to identify issues related to such interaction in a rural outreach program of Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.

Materials & Methods: The cross sectional descriptive study was undertaken in April 2015 during the community outreach program of final year MBBS students of Rehman Medical College deployed in Nahaqi Emergency Satellite Hospital (NESH) of Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Patients of both genders visiting the Out Patient Department (OPD) were interviewed through convenience sampling, based on a semi-structured questionnaire containing open and closed ended questions in the local language (Pashto) after obtaining informed consent. Data were analyzed by SPSS 15.0 for descriptive statistics; the Chi Square test was used to detect significant differences of frequencies between groups, keeping p≤0.05 as significant.

Results: A total of 108 patients were sampled; the majority of patients interviewed were females (74, 68.5%); most subjects (59, 54.6%) were in the age group of 21-40 years (range 15-75 years) and of unsatisfactory socio-economic status (75/106, 70.8%). Patients expressed very positive views regarding observation and examination by medical students (80-85%); moreover they agreed that such interactions were useful for learning by students (95-99%) and should be encouraged (80-85%). Regarding their feelings, most (61-77%) were comfortable being interviewed and examined by medical students; the gender of the student did not matter for 56.3%, but 48-58% felt uncomfortable if relatives were present during their clinical interaction due to reasons of privacy. Significant differences were obtained in gender responses to consent for being observed by medical students (p=0.018); students should routinely observe (p=0.016), and examine (0.015) patients; gender of students matters to them (0.044); and that students learn by examining patients (0.040).

Conclusion: Patients from a backward rural area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had very positive and encouraging views and feelings about being observed and examined by medical students of Rehman Medical College, despite some reservations by female patients preferring examining students of their own gender.

Key Words: Physical Examination; Students, Medical; Community-Institutional Relations; Physician-Patient Relations.

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