Measuring Self-Reported Comfort With General Family Practice Skills During a Required Third-Year Family Practice Clerkship

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Background: To judge the effectiveness of a new required third-year family practice (FP) clerkship, we designed a 20-item FP comfort assessment (FPCA) to measure students' self-reported comfort with a wide range of FP skills. This report examines the behavior and characteristics of the FPCA. Methods: During the 1990-91 academic year, 179 students who completed the FP clerkship were asked to complete the FPCA on the first and last days of the clerkship. Results: Factor analysis of responses yielded four factors that explained 66.4% of the total variance: relationships and values, history and physical, diagnosis and management, and preventive medicine. After adjustment, internal consistency for each factor ranged from .77 to .89. All postclerkship factor scores were significantly greater than preclerkship factor scores, indicating that the FPCA performed as expected. All postclerkship factor scores and two of the change scores correlated significantly with the students' overall clerkship grade, indicating concurrent validity. Conclusion: The FPCA is a reliable and valid measure of student comfort with patient-centered FP skills.

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