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Clerkship Directors’ Reports and Attitudes on Pelvic Exams Performed by Medical Students

Purpose: To examine current practices of obtaining consent for pelvic exams performed by medical students as reported by OBGYN Clerkship Directors (CDs).

Background: Recently, ethical concerns regarding student involvement in pelvic exams performed while a woman is under anesthesia have been raised in the scientific, professional, and popular literature.

Methods: An online survey about the educational pelvic exam was administered to OBGYN CDs as part of the APGO annual clerkship directors’ survey. CDs were asked if their institution had policies on the performance of pelvic exams by students, if explicit consent was obtained, and if patients, students, and providers were educated on the policy. These were evaluated by descriptive statistics of self-reported policies. We also compared the median values of the perceived importance of telling a patient about the involvement of a medical student across seven different procedures.

Results: The survey was sent to 230 clerkship directors, 140 responses were returned, with a response rate of 61%. 57 CDs reported they follow all 4 recommendations (40.7%) as published by APGO’s statement on pelvic exams under anesthesia. 9 CDs did not believe the exam had to be related to the procedure performed. Consent for pelvic exam was seen equivalent to consent for rectal exam, intubation, and making the incision. Consent was perceived less important to watch the procedure, suture the incision, and retract.

Discussions: While many CDs report institutional policies on students performing pelvic exams, it is clear that education is still needed to ensure proper consent is obtained.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2020, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Patient Care, Professionalism, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, UME, Quality & Safety, General Ob-Gyn,

General Information


Intended
Audience
Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Competencies
Addressed
Patient Care,Professionalism,Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Educational
Continuum
UME,
Educational
Focus
Quality & Safety,
Clinical Focus
General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Maya Hammoud, MD, MBA; Michigan Medicine; Shireen Sims, MD; Christopher Morosky, MD, MS; Kayte Spector-Bagdady, JD, MBioethics

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