Clinician engagement in ongoing health service quality improvement (QI) is an important component of improving clinical outcomes. Integrating QI in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education to equip clinicians with the…
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Final year medical students at University of Auckland perform a clinical audit project within the constraints and context of a busy women’s health service. Students work with a clinical supervisor to identify an area for potential improvement, set a standard of care, measure current practice, investigate reasons for not achieving the standard and make real-world suggestions to close the gap between research and observed practice. Since 2004, over 1,250 student projects have been completed, many of which have resulted in actual improvements to clinical care. Such experiential learning during medical school is important in preparing future doctors to incorporate quality improvement knowledge and skills into their daily practice.
To describe how we incorporate experiential quality improvement (QI) learning at the University of Auckland by integrating a clinical audit project into the Year 6 obstetrics and gynaecology clinical attachment.
Students gain insight into the relevance of QI while engaged in day-to-day clinical work. Students work with a clinical supervisor to identify an area for potential improvement, set a standard of care, measure current practice, investigate reasons for deviation from the standard and make real-world suggestions to close the gap between best evidence and observed practice.
Since 2004, over 1,250 projects have been completed, and two journal articles published. Many of the student projects result in actual improvements to clinical processes of care, and lead to strengthening of academic and service provider learning networks and partnerships.
Performing a hands-on project within the constraints and context of a busy women’s health service is a feasible and effective method of teaching QI. Medical schools have an integral role to play in ensuring future healthcare professionals are equipped with QI knowledge, skills and attitudes. Experiential QI learning enhances clinical teaching and training, and is important in preparing future clinicians to incorporate QI into their daily practice.