Training in pairs (dyad practice) has been shown to improve efficiency of clinical skills training compared with single practice but little is known about students' perception of dyad practice. The aim of this study was to explore the reactions and attitudes of medical students who were instructed to work in pairs during clinical skills training. A follow-up pilot survey consisting of four open-ended questions was administered to 24 fourth-year medical students, who completed four hours of dyad practice in managing patient encounters. The responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. The students felt dyad practice improved their self-efficacy through social interaction with peers, provided useful insight through observation, and contributed with shared memory of what to do, when they forgot essential steps of the physical examination of the patient. However, some students were concerned about decreased hands-on practice and many students preferred to continue practising alone after completing the initial training. Dyad practice is well received by students during initial skills training and is associated with several benefits to learning through peer observation, feedback and cognitive support. Whether dyad training is suited for more advanced learners is a subject for future research.
Perspectives on Medical Education, 2014, Vol 3, Issue 6, p. 500-7