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Undergraduate medical education requires ongoing improvement in order to keep pace with the changing demands of twenty-first century medical practice. Problem-based learning is increasingly being adopted in medical schools worldwide. We review its application in the specialty of ENT, and we present our experience of using this approach combined with more traditional methods.
We introduced problem-based learning techniques into the ENT course taught to fifth-year medical students at Al-Ahsa College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. As a result, the teaching schedule included both clinical and theoretical activities. Six clinical teaching days were allowed for history-taking, examination techniques and clinical scenario discussion. Case scenarios were discussed in small group teaching sessions. Conventional methods were employed to teach audiology and ENT radiology (one three-hour session each); a three-hour simulation laboratory session and three-hour student presentation were also scheduled. In addition, students attended out-patient clinics for three days, and used multimedia facilities to learn about various otolaryngology diseases (in another three-hour session). This input was supplemented with didactic teaching in the form of 16 instructional lectures per semester (one hour per week).
From our teaching experience, we believe that the application of problem-based learning to ENT teaching has resulted in a substantial increase in students' knowledge. Furthermore, students have given encouraging feedback on their experience of combined problem-based learning and conventional teaching methods.
Computer-based medical simulation has recently been adopted as a new method of medical education. This paper reviews the uses of medical simulation within the ENT specialty, and reports how such simulation is used in Al-Ahsa College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia.
We review our use of a simulation laboratory in ENT training. Students are taught ENT anatomy using physical models, ear diseases using physical models, and ENT examination by watching video recordings, and are taught the principles of common ENT surgery using a computerised mannequin (for laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy). A haptic temporal bone surgery simulator is used for mastoidectomy and functional endoscopic sinus surgery training, and a mannequin for cricothyrotomy and tracheotomy training.
The use of such simulation methods has greatly improved our students' perception and comprehension.
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