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Medical Student Perspectives on Pelvic Exams Under Anesthesia: A Multi-institutional Study

Purpose: This study aims to assess medical students’ opinions on the educational utility of and type of consent required for conducting bimanual pelvic exams under anesthesia (PEUAs). Additionally, we compare consent practices across institutions.

Studies show that patients prefer to give explicit consent prior to students practicing PEUAs. Students’ experiences with performing these exams and the inter- and intra-institutional variation in consent practices are largely unstudied.

An anonymous survey was sent to students at six medical schools who had completed their obstetrics and gynecology clerkship between June 1, 2019 and March 30, 2020. Preliminary descriptive statistics were performed on responses from two private Southeastern schools.

There were 126 total survey responses from these two institutions. Students performed a median of 5 [IQR: 3 - 10] PEUAs during their clerkship. Of the 51 students that observed the informed consent process “most” or “every” time, 34 (67%) reported that it was “never” or “rarely” verbally explained that a medical student may perform a PEUA during surgery. Thirty-three percent of students “strongly agreed” and 44% “somewhat agreed” that practicing PEUAs was important to their learning. Fifty-two percent of students believed verbal consent was necessary before exams, but only 3.1% felt a separate written consent was needed.

Discussions: While we find that students regularly perform PEUAs at these two medical schools, their involvement is inconsistently disclosed to patients during consent processes. As students express that practicing PEUAs is valuable for their learning, it is important to develop consistent and appropriate trainee disclosure processes.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Student, Resident, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Osteopathic Faculty, Patient Care, Professionalism, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, GME, CME, UME, Quality & Safety, Advocacy, General Ob-Gyn,

General Information

Student,Resident,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,Osteopathic Faculty,
Patient Care,Professionalism,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Quality & Safety,Advocacy,
Clinical Focus
General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Karampreet Kaur, BA, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Sanjana Salwi, BS; Kelsey McNew, BS; Hannah Millimet, BS; Barry Grimm, MD; Erin Fairbrother, MD

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