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Background and Aims In clinical postings, time for teaching is limited. To maximize effectiveness, educators should prioritize teaching topics that students struggle to learn independently. We surveyed medical students to identify these topics and better inform lesson planning.
Methods We derived the anaesthesiology curriculum from the textbook ‘Anesthesiology Student Survival Guide’. With input from an anaesthetist educator and a pilot survey, we identified the 5 most important and challenging concepts from major topics including Pharmacology & Physiology, Intensive Care, Peri-operative Care, and Traditional Anaesthesia. We then asked clinical year medical students at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore to rate the concepts (1 to 5, 5 indicating extreme difficulty). We also surveyed why they found these concepts challenging and how they overcame the difficulties.
Results We received 139 out of a maximum of 394 responses (35.3% response rate), yielding a margin of error of ±6.70% at the 95% confidence interval. The hardest concepts are as follows (with scoring): Pharmacology & Physiology: Pharmacokinetics of anticoagulants (3.25/5), context sensitive half- life (3.56/5) Intensive Care: Approach to hypo/hyperthermia (3.34/5) Peri-operative Care: Capnograph interpretation (3.06/5), minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) (3.47/5) Traditional Anaesthesia: Neuromuscular blocking agents (3.12/5), nerve block anatomy (3.56/5) For intensive care, lack of practice was the main challenge, while for the other topics, it was difficulty understanding the concepts. The most effective learning method for all topics was a teaching by someone else.
Conclusions Our study identifies key anaesthesiology topics and effective teaching strategies for educators, helping to optimize limited clinical posting time and improve student understanding.
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