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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 137-140

Medical students accept virtual patients as a helping tool to achieve their study plan objectives

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, Sulaiman Al Rajhi Colleges, Qassim, Saudi Arabia; Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohammed Ewid
Sulaiman Al Rajhi Colleges, P.O. Box: 777, Al Bukairyah 51941, Saudi Arabia

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_155_19

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Background: Technical innovation in medical education is a new era that can augment students' problem-solving capabilities. Virtual patients (VPs) have a recognized position in this new era. Research is still ongoing regarding the role of VPs in the learning process of medical students. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the perception of preclinical and clinical medical students toward VPs in problem-based learning environment. Methods: Thirty-one medical students, 21 preclinical (3rd year) and 10 clinical (4th year) from Sulaiman Al Rajhi Medical College, Saudi Arabia ( first two patches), were enrolled in this cross-sectional study after their acceptance to participate. Necessary orientation was given prior to start by content experts; then, a curriculum-mapped standardized VP case was offered to each group. Following the completion of the VP case, each group had the same standardized validated VP questionnaire to assess their perception and attitude. Results: Respectively, 3rd and 4th year students had the following perceptions regarding VPs: 62% versus 70% considered it a useful learning experience, 48% versus 70% liked practicing it in small groups, and 60% versus 90% recommended incorporating it in upcoming year courses. Eighty percent of the clinical students considered VPs realistic. Clinical and preclinical students' perceptions toward VPs showed no significant difference in all questionnaire items. Conclusion: VPs had a positive impact on medical students and can be implemented in both pre and clinical settings to accomplish their study plan objectives.

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