These four online learning modules were created to complement learning in a 2-year ambulatory community primary care preceptorship (CPCP). They revolve around a panel of five patients spanning the human life cycle and present information in a developmentally appropriate fashion. The first module was created for students with little clinical experience and introduces the primary care office/clinic setting, charting, patient note writing, prescription writing, and public and private insurance. The second module revolves around difficult patient interactions. These include getting informed consent for procedures, identifying hidden agendas, talking to patients who frequently miss appointments, addressing adolescent confidentiality issues, and performing mental status exams on elderly patients. The third module is for students with more experience and addresses common primary care complaints, including asthma, knee pain, weight loss, URI, and hypertension. It also includes discussions of important primary care issues such as overprescribing antibiotics, combining medications in patients with diabetes and hypertension, using clinical guidelines and online resources, and discussing complementary and alternative medicine with patients. The fourth module concentrates on prevention. Topics include injury prevention in children, preventing tobacco use in adolescents, avoiding metabolic syndrome in adults, preventing the secondary complications of diabetes in adults, and preventing falls in the elderly. The modules are interactive and use streaming audio and video as well as games and other activities to engage the learner. The two major goals of the online curriculum—providing students at a variety of clinical sites a way to standardize some of their learning and to present clinical information that they could apply directly to their clinical work—were assessed using student surveys. The results showed that students enjoyed the modules and found them easy to use. Furthermore, a standardized patient exam at the end of the CPCP curriculum strove to evaluate behavioral differences between students in the CPCP program and their colleagues who were not.
The goals of these modules include:
- Standardizing core curricular concepts in primary care for students doing clinical work in a variety of primary care settings.
- Designing present online learning modules based on adult learning principles in a developmentally appropriate manner, with increasing levels of complexity.
- Taking advantage of the flexible and interactive nature of the online environment to engage learners and augment and reinforce learning in the clinical setting.
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