Deficient knowledge of genetics relevant for daily practice among medical students nearing graduation

M.J.H. Baars, A.J.J.A. Scherpbier, L.W. Schuwirth, L. Henneman, F.A. Beemer, J.M. Cobben, R.C. Hennekam, M.M. Verweij, M.C. Cornel, L.P. ten Kate

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Purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate whether the knowledge of genetics relevant for daily practice among medical students nearing graduation in the Netherlands was sufficient to react appropriately to the change of relevance of genetics in medicine. Methods: A computer examination validated in a group of clinical geneticists, medical students nearing graduation, and nonmedical students. The examination consisted of 215 genetic questions classified by the designers into three categories of relevance: "essential" knowledge (requirement: > 95% correct answers), "desirable" knowledge (requirement: > 60% correct answers), and "too specialized" knowledge (no requirement). To set an independent standard, the questions were also judged by clinical geneticists and nongenetic health care providers in an Angoff procedure. In total, 291 medical students nearing graduation from seven out of the eight medical schools in the Netherlands participated. Results: As expected, the mean score for "essential" knowledge (71.63%, 95% CI 70.74-72.52) was higher than for "desirable" knowledge (55.99%, 95% CI 55.08-56.90); the mean score for "too specialized" knowledge (44.40%, 95% CI 43.19-45.62) was the lowest. According to passing scores set for "essential" knowledge as defined by the designers, the clinical geneticists, and the nongenetic health care providers, only 0%, 26%, and 3%, respectively, of the participants would have passed. Conclusions: Medical students nearing graduation lack genetic knowledge that is essential for daily practice. Therefore, changes should be made in the medical curricula
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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