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Alshwameen, Albalawi, Almutairi, and Shaman: Patient’s attitude and preference towards medical students involvement in their health care in Tabuk region in Saudi Arabia

Introduction: Medical students are the future health professionals. To fulfil this role, they should be involved in patient care during their training years. Encounters with patients can promote contextual and clinical learning, improve communication and professional skills and initiate the development of future doctor–patient relationships.

Objective: To explore patients’ attitude and preference towards the presence and involvement of students in their health care, as well as factors that can influence patients’ decisions regarding student participation in their care.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from April 2014 to August 2014 at King Khalid Hospital, Tabuk region, Saudi Arabia. Participants were randomly selected from outpatient clinics and inpatient wards. Data were collected using structured questionnaires, and data analysis was carried out using Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS; IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA).

Results: Out of 303 participants, 238 (78.5%) were selected from outpatient clinics (Group I), comprising a medical clinic (45.8%), an obstetrics and gynaecology (OBGYN) clinic (39.1%) and a surgery clinic (15.1%), and 65 (21.5%) participants (Group II) were recruited from inpatient wards, comprising a surgical ward (40%), a medical ward (35.4%) and an OBGYN ward (24.6%). One hundred and thirty participants (43.3%) in Group I and 23 (35.4) in Group II report a positive attitude regarding presence of students during consultation. However, that was not the case regarding the presence of students during their examination; only 54 participants [38 (16%) Group I and 19 (29%.2) Group II] accepted their presence.

Gender of the student is one of the major factors for participants to accept medical students to examine them. Specifically, being a female medical student is a positive factor for the participant to allow students to examine them.

Conclusion: the results demonstrate that participants have positive attitudes towards the involvement of female medical students in their health care. However, being a male medical student can pose a challenge to develop a required clinic skill since most of the participants refuse their involvement in their health care.

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