Research Article
Volume 5 Issue 3 - 2021
Early Exposure of First-Year Medical Students at the Emergency Department: a cross-sectional study in Greece
Panagiotis Stachteas, Nikolaos Vlachopoulos, Angeliki Baimaki, Aikaterini Vasiliki Touriki, Evangelia Savvidou, Antonia Aikaterini Bourtzinakou, Spyridon Graidis, Dimitra Foteini Pourtoulidou, Maria Moirasgenti, Aikaterini Apostolopoulou, Barbara Fyntanidou and Emmanouil Smyrnakis*
Laboratory of Primary Health Care, General Practice and Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
*Corresponding Author: Emmanouil Smyrnakis, Assistant Professor in Primary Health Care - Medical Education, Laboratory of Primary Health Care, General Practice and Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Received: February 04, 2021; Published: February 26, 2021


Introduction: Early clinical exposure (ECE) aims to close the gap between basic and clinical science and provide unique, long-lasting learning experiences to young medical students. After their training in the simulated environment of a Clinical Skills Center, first year medical students (FYMeS) visited the Emergency Department (ED) of a University Hospital. There they observed the triage process, infection prevention protocols, history taking and communication skills. This study aims to present medical students’ perceptions about early clinical exposure in an ED.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, employing a mixed-methods research design to explore students’ experience. The data collection was based on an online questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were performed on demographic data and the answers to the close-ended questions. Regarding the free-text questions, the data were analyzed using a two-stage thematic analysis procedure.

Results: Two-hundred and fifty students participated in the study. They felt satisfied after their first clinical exposure and mentioned their need for additional visits at the ED. The majority of students agreed that infection prevention was inadequate, especially hand hygiene, while communication and history taking techniques applied were similar to what students had learned in theory. They, also, emphasised the importance of triage and pointed out that a Health Care System with strong Primary Health Care could reduce patient visits in ED and hospital admissions.

Discussion and Conclusion: Apart from the deeper understanding of the ED’s function, the students observed the skills being used by professionals on duty, in a proper or improper manner, which solidified their knowledge. Their views on the medical personnel’s compliance with guidelines, but also the functional problems of the overcrowded ED, reveal the need for immediate improvement. Overall, this study accentuates the need for early exposure of students in a clinical environment in order to cultivate their clinical skills and professional behavior.


Keywords: Communication Skills; Early Clinical Exposure; Emergency Department; First-Year Medical Students; Infection Prevention; Medical Education


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Citation: Panagiotis Stachteas., et al. “Early Exposure of First-Year Medical Students at the Emergency Department: a cross-sectional study in Greece”. EC Emergency Medicine and Critical Care 5.3 (2021): 46-59.

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