Is there a place for medical students as teachers in the education of junior residents?

Document Type


Publication Date



Pediatrics, Surgery

Journal Title

American journal of surgery

MeSH Headings

Curriculum, General Surgery, Humans, Internship and Residency, Learning, Models, Educational, Students, Medical, Surveys and Questionnaires, Teaching


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate a novel resident education model that turns the traditional surgical hierarchy upside down, termed a "reverse" peer-assisted learning curriculum.

METHODS: Thirty surgical topics were randomized between medical students and chief residents on each clinical team, with 1 topic being presented briefly during morning rounds. An exam evaluating junior residents' knowledge of these topics was administered before and after 1 month of presentations. A questionnaire was distributed to evaluate the junior residents' perceptions of this teaching model.

RESULTS: Thirty-four residents participated. There was a significant improvement in the mean examination score (54 vs 74, P < .05). No significant difference was noted in the mean score differentials of topics presented by either the medical students or the chief resident (21 vs 18, P = .22). More than 80% of the residents responded positively about the effectiveness of this exercise and agreed that they would like to see this model used on other services.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the hypothesis that medical students can teach surgical topics to junior residents at least as effectively as their chief residents.



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