Background: Medical school curricula are constantly evolving and change has potential positive and negative effects. At East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, a broader understanding of the effects of a curriculum change (reduction in clerkship length for one transitional year) was explored. Methods: A broad, system-wide evaluation was used to evaluate impacts on all stakeholders. Curriculum management data, including qualitative and quantitative data and short-term and follow-up perspectives of stakeholders, were used for evaluation. Results: Students evaluated the change positively. Academic performance in the transitional year was similar to the prior year. Differences in students’ clerkship evaluations were not statistically significant. Clerkship directors were concerned that students’ clinical experience suffered and noted that implementing changes was time consuming but recognized the benefits for students. Administrators dedicated a significant amount of time to planning the transitional year; however, the additional weeks at the beginning of fourth year made the scheduling process easier. Conclusion: This article demonstrates an overall positive result with this tool for curriculum change but also indicates the impacts differed across stakeholders. Knowledge gained from this experience can help other schools successfully anticipate challenges and prepare for a variety of outcomes in implementing necessary curriculum change.
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Reece, Blair A.; McGowen, K. R.; Olive, Kenneth E.; and Peeples, Catherine R.. 2021. One Change, Different Effects: The Impacts of Reducing Clerkship Length. BMC Medical Education. Vol.21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02732-6 PMID: 34020636