Evaluation of a quality improvement experience for family medicine clerkship students

Geoffrey D. Mills, Samantha Kelly, Denine Crittendon, Amy Cunningham, Christine Arenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is emphasis on systems-based practice competencies and quality improvement (QI) training in postgraduate medical education. However, we lack effective approaches to provide experiences in these areas during undergraduate medical education. To address this, we developed a novel approach to providing didactic and experiential learning experiences in QI during a third-year family medicine clerkship. METHODS: We implemented and evaluated a QI curriculum combining self-directed learning with real-world experience to increase knowledge and confidence in the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) process for family medicine clerkship students. Students collaborated and presented their change ideas in a “Shark Tank” format for practice leaders at the end of their rotation. We used pre-and postcurriculum surveys to assess knowledge of and comfort with com-pleting QI projects. RESULTS: Three hundred eighty-nine students completed precurriculum surveys and 242 completed postcurriculum surveys. Pre-and postlearning evaluations revealed an increase in agreement or strong agreement with self-reported understanding of specific QI topic areas of 50%. Almost all (91.3%) reported feeling confident or reasonably confident in their ability to create change in health care after exposure to the curriculum, compared with 66.3% in the precurriculum survey. One-third of students (34%) reported intent to complete the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School curriculum in QI. CONCLUSIONS: Self-directed learning about QI, combined with practice ob-servation, small-group discussion and presentation in a Shark Tank format was effective and engaging for learners. Students had limited preexisting knowledge of QI principles, suggesting a need for preclinical exposure to this topic. The family medicine clerkship provides an ideal environment for teaching QI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-885
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
FUNDING: This work was funded by US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Grant Number TOBHP28581, Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.


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