gms | German Medical Science

4th Research in Medical Education (RIME) Symposium 2015

19.03-21.03.2015, München

Are alumni surveys an appropriate tool to detect curricular changes? Two cohorts from Hannover Medical School evaluate study conditions and assess their competencies

Meeting Abstract

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4th Research in Medical Education (RIME) Symposium 2015. München, 19.-21.03.2015. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2015. DocS1B4

doi: 10.3205/15rime15, urn:nbn:de:0183-15rime155

Published: March 12, 2015

© 2015 Paulmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. You are free: to Share - to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited. See license information at



Introduction: In 2005, Hannover Medical School (MHH) implemented a model curriculum (HannibaL) that defines the personal contact with patients and their diseases as a key training element and reinforces the link between basic sciences and clinical expertise. Since 2010, all graduates have been asked to fill-in a questionnaire to trace the curricular outcomes [1]. The young physicians shall evaluate among other aspects study conditions as well as their own medical competencies. In 2013, the first HannibaL cohort was surveyed.

Methods: The questionnaire and its adoption for medical schools were developed within the framework of an alumni study network of 50 German universities. All medical students from MHH were contacted 1.5 years after graduation. Results from 2010, representing a cohort with little contact to the new curriculum, and 2013 were compared with regard to the evaluation of the study conditions and the self-assessment of competencies. Competencies were measured by means of the Freiburg Questionnaire to Assess Competencies in Medicine (FKM) [2]. Participants were asked to rate their level by the time they graduated and the extent to which these competencies are required in their current job.

Results: The response rate was 54% in 2011 (N=154) and 48% (N=117) in 2014. On a 5-point scale (1=very good, 5=very poor) HannibaL students rated teaching of communication skills significantly better than the cohort of 2011 (e.g. “Training for passing on information to patients”; M=3.16 vs. M=3.96, p<.0001, Cohen’s d=0.8). The use of modern didactical elements was also ranked higher (M=2.91 vs. M=3.62, p<.0001, Cohen’s d=0.7). In contrast, self-assessed communication skills have not improved.

Discussion: Improved evaluations for communication trainings seem plausible. The fact that self-assessed competencies in this area have not improved in the same way needs further investigation. The results point to the complex character of self-assessments. Additional criteria to evaluate competencies adequately are therefore necessary.


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