Author: Bishop K, Green N and Thomas N Publication Year: 2015
Summary: Near-peer buddy-schemes are a useful method of teaching students clinical skills. In this study a buddy scheme was developed with the aim of creating a reproducible effective teaching programme.
Description: Introduction: There is very little literature available regarding near-peer buddy schemes as teaching tools for Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) in the final year of medical school. A buddy scheme programme was developed within a District General Hospital. Questionnaires were completed before and after the programme with the aim of introducing a reproducible effective teaching programme for more students.
Methods: 38 students were based in the hospital in 3 separate rotations. All were involved in a buddy scheme, small-group tutorials and a mock OSCE. Pairs of medical students were matched with junior doctor mentors to facilitate their learning in regular student-centred OSCE teaching sessions. This involved patient-based teaching and simulated scenarios in the classroom setting.
Results: The percentage of students who knew what was expected of them in an OSCE significantly increased from 29% to 75% (2 = 13.69, d.f.=1, p <0.001). Prior to teaching, 18.4% students felt that there was enough OSCE teaching in a clinical environment and 44.7% in the classroom setting. Following completion of the programme, both increased to 57.7%. On average, confidence in history and examination skills in clinical and examination settings rose by 21.2%. Initially, 2.7% of students felt that they were prepared for their OSCE. This increased significantly to 48.2% after the teaching programme (2 = 20.22, d.f.=1, p <0.001).
Conclusions: Near-peer buddy-schemes are a useful method of teaching students clinical skills. Our programme has increased students confidence in their own skills both in a clinical environment and in examinations. Buddy-schemes facilitate learning which is individually tailored to each student. The authors encourage others to take up this effective method of near-peer education within similar organisations.

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