Background: Given the United States’ poor sexual health status and
the mission of the medical field, medical providers ought to be knowledgeable
and competent caregivers for sexual health problems, yet many medical students
and physicians express discomfort discussing sex with patients and
dissatisfaction in the training opportunities at their schools.
Methods: Based on literature and field evidence, we developed a
training module to improve competency addressing sexuality concerns with
patients. The program covers sexual health, diversity of sexual behaviors and
expressions, and best treatment practices for trauma-informed care. The program
has been implemented in Washington University’s OB/Gyn clerkship program every
6 weeks since July 2014.
Program evaluation was conducted using a pre/post
test and survey design.
Results: An IRB-approved pilot evaluation showed a
significant increase in students’ sense of comfort initiating discussions of
sexual wellness with patients [t(10) = -2.89, p < 0.05] and self-perception
of ability to discuss sexual health effectively [t(10) = -10.00, p <
0.05]. A comprehensive analysis of continuing evaluation [N=50] indicates
improved attitudes and perception of skills, with program effectiveness rated
4.2/5. Surveys indicated a positive reception by students.
Discussions: Program evaluations indicate a positive immediate
effect, while additional measures are needed to assess long-term effectiveness.
Based on literature review, the longitudinal implementation of similar
programming is essential for true program effectiveness.
Keywords: Sexuality, roleplay, diversity