Patients’ Perceptions Towards the Participation of Medical Students in their Care

Mohammed Al Ghobain, Abdullah Alghamdi, Ala Arab, Nora Alaem, Turki Aldress, Mead Ruhyiem


Objectives: Patient interaction is a vital part of healthcare training. This study aimed to investigate patients’ perceptions of the participation of medical students in their care. Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted between October 2014 and March 2015 among 430 patients admitted to the medical and surgical wards at the King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. An Arabic questionnaire was designed to assess the demographic characteristics of the patients and their perceptions of students’ participation in their medical care. Results: A total of 416 patients completed the survey (response rate: 97%). Overall, 407 patients (98%) acknowledged the educational benefit of involving medical students in their care. A total of 368 patients (88%) had no objection to a medical student being involved in their care. Of these, 98% were willing to be asked about their medical history by medical students, 89% would permit physical examinations by medical students and 39% preferred that the gender of the medical student match their own. Education level (P <0.003), a positive prior experience with a medical student (P <0.001) and perception of the medical students’ attitudes (P <0.001) had a significant effect on patients’ acceptance of medical students participating in their care. Conclusion: In general, the patients had a positive perception of medical students, with most patients acknowledging the educational benefit of student participation in patient care. As patients’ perceptions of students’ professionalism, confidence and respect for privacy were significantly related to acceptance of care, education on these aspects should be a priority in medical curricula.


Patients; Perceptions; Attitudes; Medical Students; Medical Education; Saudi Arabia.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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