Integration of Cognitive Skills as a Cross-Cutting Theme Into the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum at Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Nowadays, improvement of thinking skills of students is one of the universally supported aims in the majority of medical schools. This study aims to design longitudinal theme of reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making into the undergraduate medical curriculum at Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS). A participatory approach was applied to design the curriculum during 2009-2011. The project was conducted by the contribution of representatives of both basic and clinical faculty members, students and graduates at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The first step toward integrating cognitive skills into the curriculum was to assemble a taskforce of different faculty and students, including a wide variety of fields with multidisciplinary expertise using nonprobability sampling and the snowball method. Several meetings with the contribution of experts and some medical students were held to generate the draft of expected outcomes. Subsequently, the taskforce also determined what content would fit best into each phase of the program and what teaching and assessment methods would be more appropriate for each outcome. After a pilot curriculum with a small group of second-year medical students, we implemented this program for all first-year students since 2011 at TUMS. Based on findings, the teaching of four areas, including scientific and critical thinking skills (Basic sciences), problem-solving and reasoning (Pathophysiology), evidence-based medicine (Clerkship), and clinical decision-making (Internship) were considered in the form of a longitudinal theme. The results of this study could be utilized as a useful pattern for integration of psycho-social subjects into the medical curriculum.
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