The arrival of Practicum Script to the university sphere has gained momentum after the annual conference of the European Board of Medical Assessors(EBMA), held on November 23 and 24 in Braga (Portugal). The presentation of the multicenter project laying out a joint research between the Practicum Institute and EBMA, which took place internally on the 22nd, brought together around twenty representatives of the main European medical schools and reached a broad consensus on the suitability of the study in a context that demands a curriculum update in universities in face of the demands of real clinical practice.
“The idea is to develop a case bank adapted to grade level, apply the experience during the NEXT academic, and obtain psychometric outcomes by the end of 2020”
Making strategic use of evaluation a meaningful tool for learning was the theme of the EBMA 2018 medical education conference. This commitment is aligned with the Practicum Institute’s willingness to deliver its clinical reasoning training program to medical schools. “We live in a world in which any information is within reach of a click; however, reflective skills should be taken care of and developed in the undergraduate training cycle,” said Practicum’s academic director, Dr. Eduardo Pleguezuelos. Dr. Pleguezuelos was in charge of presenting a protocol to deliver the Practicum Script simulator for medical students in clinical rotations in European and two non-EU counries.
“The idea is to develop a pilot study with a case bank focused on Internal Medicine and adapted to grade level, apply the pedagogical experience to the universities associated with the project during the academic year of 2019-2020, and obtain results on the satisfaction level of students and professors and psychometric outcomes by the end of 2020,” explains the secretary. After listening attentively to the medical community, this vision of things focuses all efforts on the adult patient as a whole. The same applies to the down-to-earth duration and methodology of the work, which will be presented entirely in English and will consist of 20 cases featuring some degree of uncertainty to stimulate debate and reflection.
Specifically, the participation of at least 15 centers with a strong British presence is anticipated, all under the EBMA umbrella. The Practicum Institute will work with reputable Anglo-Saxon experts to prepare clinical vignettes in the first phase of the project. As usual, authorship and validation will be key to the experience. The material for the study will consist of 20 clinical cases selected from 25 possible cases, and the development of the cases will incorporate divergent scenarios embracing controversy. Next, a committee of 15-30 Internal Medicine teachers will be made up to function as a reference panel to answer and validate the cases. In both tasks, Practicum will urge the cooperation of the medical schools.
Originally designed as a tool for continuous professional development of specialists and residents, this pilot study stems from a growing interest in pedagogical approaches to improve and more accurately assess thinking skills of students, in order to promote their independent functioning in the clinical setting. In other words, the study stems from a need to go beyond memorization of factual knowledge toward embracing real problem-solving formats and developing superior cognitive skills. “In favor of this purpose is the fact that students can apply their knowledge and skills repetitively and longitudinally without risks,” emphasized Dr. Pleguezuelos.
Practicum Script is an online learning model based on challenging real cases. The simulator presents a comprehensive evaluation of all stages of clinical reasoning, from generation to evaluation of hypotheses, and a feedback model that encourages reflection on actions based on responses by experts and medicine based on evidence. All grounded on a consensus building methodology. Practicum Script offers self-assessment exercises that are particularly suited to improve the reasoning process during decision making, train and reinforce the ability to integrate and apply different types of knowledge, understand and weigh different perspectives in complex cases and promote meaningful learning in particular.