Comparison of Patient Attitudes and Provider Perceptions Regarding Medical Student Involvement in Obstetric/Gynecologic Care

Lynn M. Coppola, Kathryn L. Reed, William N. Herbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Community physicians are becoming increasingly involved in clinical medical education. Some obstetrician/gynecologists have expressed reluctance to participate as clinical preceptors for medical students due to the sensitive nature of many of their patient encounters and concern for diminished patient satisfaction. Purposes: The purpose was to evaluate the willingness of community ob/gyn patients to participate in clinical medical education and to determine the accuracy of provider perceptions regarding this issue. Methods: Surveys were distributed to women seeking ob/gyn care at 4 private practice sites in Tucson, Arizona. The surveys explored patient attitudes toward community physician involvement in clinical medical education as well as factors influencing personal willingness to include students as part of their healthcare team. Similar surveys were administered to the ob/gyn providers in those sites and evaluated their expectations of aggregate patient responses. Results: Of 234 patient respondents, 87.6% believed that physicians have a responsibility to participate in medical education. Providers underestimated the number of patients for whom such participation would positively influence their personal provider choice (12.7% vs. 30.8%, p <.01) and overestimated negative (16.7% vs. 6.8%, p <.01) influence. Providers also underestimated acceptance rates of student pelvic examinations based on learner gender (13.8% vs. 24.3% male students, p =.01; 28.1% vs. 44.4% female students, p <.01). Conclusions: Patients in southern Arizona recognize and appreciate physicians' responsibility to educate future providers of women's healthcare. Providers may underestimate patient acceptance and value of students as part of their healthcare team. This bias may unnecessarily limit student exposure to clinical learning opportunities. © 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • medical student education
  • obstetrics and gynecology clerkship
  • pelvic examination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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