Background: Neurophobia, a well-described fear of Neurology affecting medical students worldwide, may be one of the causes of the decreased interest in neurology, which is leading to a shortage of neurologists in the United States. Within educational systems, residents play a key role in education of students, although often underrecognized. Here we formally investigate the impact of resident teaching on medical students’ neurologic educational experience, analyze how this relates to students’ confidence and interest in neurology.
Methods: Third year medical students (n=234) of UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School rotating at Neurology as their core rotation completed two surveys regarding their rotation experiences; before and after their rotation in an anonymous manner to measure their interest and confidence in neurology and the impact of their interactions with the neurology residents on their rotation experience. Also residents underwent a workshop on small group teaching to improve their teaching effectiveness. Non-parametrical comparison and ordinal regression analyses were utilized for data analyses.
Results: Rotating medical students felt significantly more confident in managing neurological conditions more interested in pursuing neurology residency after their rotation. There was a significant association between the medical students’ overall rotation experience and the residents’ teaching effectiveness. Their overall rotation experience was also associated with their interest and confidence in neurology. There was a trend of increase in residents’ teaching effectiveness and students’ rotation experience after the workshop.
Conclusion: This study shows that resident led teaching efforts are important in improving the medical students’ neurologic education. We also discuss future strategies to exploit “near-peer” teaching in a sustainable fashion to increase the medical students educational experience and competencies and how these could potentially mitigate neurophobia.