Medical students' experiences of practising medical procedures on patients, other students and themselves

Michelle Bai, Helen Nicholson, Kelby Smith-Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: Development of proficient procedural skills is vital to the training of young doctors. The aim of this project was to investigate the prevalence of different ways that medical students practise clinical procedures and the relationship with professional development.

METHODS: A survey was made available online to the cohort of years 4-6 medical students at the Otago Medical School, University of Otago. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analysed. Statistical methods and qualitative content analysis were employed in order to categorise and infer student responses.

RESULTS: Two hundred and eighty-four of 816 (35%) students responded to the survey. A total of 23 categories of procedural skills were reported, demonstrating procedures with varying complexity and degrees of invasiveness. A small proportion, 5%, indicated they had performed invasive procedures on themselves, with a majority of these reported to be unsupervised. 77% of students reported being directly observed when performing procedures on patients for the first time, while 32% reported being supervised when practising on peers.

CONCLUSION: Students practise clinical procedures on patients, peers and in some cases themselves. Our findings suggest a need for clearer guidelines in the support and management of the safe practice of students, be it on patients, other students or on themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
JournalThe New Zealand Medical Journal
Issue number1444
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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