The impact of clinical clerkships on medical students’ attitudes toward contraception and abortion: a pilot study

Elyse N. Brock, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Colleen K. Stockdale, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Hans R. House, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Abbey J. Hardy-Fairbanks, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Abstract

Objective: Investigate the impact of clinical clerkships on medical students’ attitudes toward contraception and abortion.

Methods: As part of their required curriculum, second-year medical students at the University of Iowa complete an anonymous survey that presents eight questions involving specific contraception and abortion scenarios. In this pilot study, all 159 members of the Class of 2013 who had previously completed this required anonymous survey were invited to re-take the survey at the conclusion of their fourth year. Additional questions, asking the students if they felt that clinical clerkships had changed their perspectives on contraception and abortion in general, were included.

Results: Of the 159 members of the Class of 2013, 42 volunteered to participate, for a response rate of 26%. Twenty students (47.62%) felt that clinical clerkships had changed their perspectives on contraception and thirteen students (39.95%) felt that clinical clerkships had changed their perspectives on abortion. The percentage of students who felt comfortable referring a patient to a colleague for an abortion increased significantly from 71.33% to 90.48% (p=0.024). Responses to the other seven questions included in the survey did not differ significantly pre and post-clerkships.

Conclusions: This pilot study, although limited by a low response rate, suggests that clinical clerkships have the ability to impact medical students’ attitudes toward contraception and abortion in general, as well as toward specific scenarios involving abortion.

 

URL

http://ir.uiowa.edu/pog_in_press/32