An audit of basic practical skills acquisition of final year medical students in a Nigerian medical school
Annals of African Medicine, 2012.
Background/Objective: Young medical graduates undertaking their housemanship are naturally expected to demonstrate reasonable competence in basic practical skills. Failure to do this may not only be a source of anxiety to the doctor but also potentially dangerous to the patient. The objective was to assess the level of exposure of final year medical students of a Nigerian medical school to basic practical skills. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. Structured questionnaires were distributed to a set (all) of 86 final year medical students of the University of Port Harcourt immediately after their last lecture in their final posting in medicine and surgery. The questionnaires listed some selected basic practical skills (e.g. phlebotomy, male urethral catheter insertion, etc.) that house officers are expected to be competent in. The students were asked to anonymously fill them and return same before leaving the lecture hall. Results: Of the 86 students, 84 completed and returned the questionnaires, giving a 97.7% response rate. No student had performed an arterial puncture for an arterial blood sample. Seventy-six students (90.5%) had not inserted a naso-gastric tube. Only 14 (16.7%) students had successfully inserted more than 10 intravenous canulae. A significant number, 38 (45.2%), had never inserted a urinary catheter (for male patients) nor had any experience with bag/mask skills. Majority, 59 (70.2%) had had some experience with intravenous antibiotics administration. Forty-one (48.7%) students had had 6 or more successful attempts at venous blood sampling. Conclusion: The exposure level of final year medical students to basic practical skills was low.