Objectives: It is recommended that medical students learn how to take a sexual history and gain experience in genital examination, but patients’ reluctance may make this difficult to achieve, especially for male students.
Methods: We performed a survey of 250 male and 250 female patients attending a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to determine their attitudes towards the involvement of medical students during their visit. Data were collected on the patients’ age, ethnic origin, parity, number of visits to the clinic, and the sex of the student.
Results: 92.8% of women and 79.2% of men participated. Younger women and men, those visiting the clinic for the first time, and women with no children were less likely to accept a student of either sex to take their history or observe their examination. Women were less likely than men to accept students of either sex to take their sexual history or be present during their examination, but were more likely than men to accept only same sex students.
Conclusions: There was a high level of acceptability for the involvement of medical students; only 12.5% of women and 15% of men declined any medical student participation. Older women with children, and older men, were more likely to accept a student of either sex for all parts of the consultation. This information can be used to enhance the experience of male and female students and to minimise distress for those patients who are less likely to accept the presence of a medical student.
- medical student education
- patient preferences
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Source of funding: none.
Conflict of interest: none.
Ethical approval: The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Local Research Ethics Committee at The General Infirmary at Leeds gave approval of the study.