Longitudinal evaluation, acceptability and long-term retention of knowledge on a horizontally integrated organic and functional systems course

Armando Almeida
Joana Almeida Palha
Jorge Correia-Pinto
Manuel Joao Costa
Maria Amélia Ferreira
Nuno Sousa
Soort article
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Undergraduate medical education is moving from traditional disciplinary basic science courses into more integrated curricula. Integration models based on organ systems originated in the 1950s, but few longitudinal studies have evaluated their effectiveness. This article outlines the development and implementation of the Organic and Functional Systems (OFS) courses at the University of Minho in Portugal, using evidence collected over 10 years. It describes the organization of content, student academic performance and acceptability of the courses, the evaluation of preparedness for future courses and the retention of knowledge on basic sciences. Students consistently rated the OFS courses highly. Physician tutors in subsequent clinical attachments considered that students were appropriately prepared. Performance in the International Foundations of Medicine examination of a self-selected sample of students revealed similar performances in basic science items after the last OFS course and 4 years later, at the moment of graduation. In conclusion, the organizational and pedagogical approaches of the OFS courses achieve high acceptability by students and result in positive outcomes in terms of preparedness for subsequent training and long-term retention of basic science knowledge.


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