The Worksheet for Ambulatory Medicine (WAM) is an educational tool designed to enhance teaching and learning outpatient internal medicine. It was developed to identify student learning needs, focus teaching, and structure educational and patient care activities in a clinic setting. The purpose of the study was to assess the feasibility and educational value of using the WAM with medical students and preceptors. Sixty-five third- and fourth-year medical students and 12 supervising faculty at two university-based general medicine outpatient clinics used the WAM during required internal medicine clerkships. Students and faculty completed written evaluations. Results are reported as percentages of respondents agreeing or disagreeing with a variety of statements, and mean rating scores for several questions designed to assess the feasibility and educational value of using the worksheet. Student response rate was 89%; 83% found the WAM easy to use; 65% found it too structured. Half said the worksheet helped diagnostic decision making and note writing, and two-thirds thought it promoted careful thinking about differential diagnosis and aided in identifying learning issues. Some 56% said using the WAM motivated outside reading. Most students found it helpful for identifying patient agendas and focusing case presentations (61% and 67%, respectively). Only 36% said the WAM helped with time management. Most preceptors thought the WAM helped identify learning issues, focus case presentations and clarify student expectations. There was less agreement among preceptors that it allowed them to demonstrate clinical reasoning or provide students with more autonomy in decision making. Nearly half the preceptors did not find it helpful with time management. Both students and preceptors rated the overall value and usefulness of the WAM as good to very good, and a majority recommended that others use it. Using the Worksheet for Ambulatory Medicine was feasible and educationally valuable for many third- and fourth-year medical students and their preceptors in a required ambulatory internal medicine clerkship.
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