The attitude of patients towards medical students in a sexual health clinic.
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Ambulatory Care, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Satisfaction, Privacy, Professional-Patient Relations, Students, Medical, Treatment Refusal, Venereology
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AbstractOBJECTIVES: To determine patient attitudes toward medical students in the sexual health clinic, and to describe factors associated with patient refusal of medical student involvement. METHOD: A self administered questionnaire was given to 259 consecutive patients attending the general genitourinary medicine clinic. Participants were asked to indicate their attitude to questioning and/or examination by medical students. Information was also collected on sex, age, ethnicity, and previous visits to sexual health clinics and previous exposure to medical students. The proportion of patients reporting comfort with student involvement, and association with age, sex, country of birth, language spoken, and previous experience of student and/or genitourinary medicine clinics are reported. RESULTS: 82.6% of patients agreed to participate. The proportion reporting feeling comfortable with students ranged from 64% for female students questioning them with a doctor present to 35% for a male student questioning them alone. Comfort levels were associated with the sex of the student and previous exposure to medical students, but not age, country of birth, language spoken, or previous attendance at a sexual health clinic. The most common reasons for feeling uncomfortable with students were privacy concerns and poorer quality of care. CONCLUSION: Many patients feel uncomfortable with medical student involvement in a sexual health clinic consultation; particularly patients with no previous contact with medical students. Privacy and standard of care were the most common concerns, which are potentially amenable to change through better explanation of the students' role in the clinic.