University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Teaching Students to Care (Coordinate): A Randomized Controlled Trial

Lara Voigt, MD; James McCarthy, MD; Ankur Segon, MD, MPH

WMJ. 2023;122(4):257-261.

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Introduction: Interdisciplinary rounds are a vital part of discharge planning; however, medical students receive little training in how to contribute effectively. Many existing discharge planning curricula are either prohibitively time consuming or narrowly focused. Addressing this gap can help improve interdisciplinary care and enhance the role of medical students on inpatient teams.

Methods: We developed a 30-minute curriculum on the purpose of interdisciplinary rounds, expected presentation content, and team members’ roles and conducted a randomized controlled trial among medical students on their inpatient internal medicine rotation. Outcomes were measured using pre- and post-curriculum surveys and comparison of evaluations of student participation in interdisciplinary rounds.

Results: Eighty-six medical students participated in the study (59 intervention, 27 control), and we received 142 presentation evaluations (91 intervention, 51 control). There was significant post-curriculum improvement in all students’ understanding of and comfort presenting in interdisciplinary rounds and knowledge of team members’ roles. Presentation evaluations did not show a significant difference; however, students in the intervention group were better able to answer questions about their patients, with a difference approaching statistical significance (70% vs 57%, P = 0.069).

Conclusions: A brief, just-in-time curriculum improved learners’ knowledge of interdisciplinary discharge rounds and showed a trend towards improvement in their ability to answer questions during rounds. Our curriculum can empower medical students to help their inpatient teams by participating in discharge rounds and can be integrated into existing curricula with minimal disruption.

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas (Voigt, Segon); Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (McDarthy).
Corresponding Author: James McCarthy, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, 7th Floor Hub for Collaborative Medicine, Milwaukee, WI 53226, phone 414.955.0350, email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-8881-935X
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Appendices: Available at
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