The importance of early supervised exposure to undergraduate medical research and publishing is well-established.1 Various efforts have been made to increase medical student participation in research. A recent review of…
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Relatively little is known about factors that influence successful publication by medical students. This is the first study from New Zealand (and anywhere outside of the UK) to explore some of the academic sequelae of medical student research projects supervised by clinical academic supervisors. Contrary to previous research, findings from our study imply that clinical academic supervisors appear just as effective as non-clinical full-time researchers in supervising medical students involved in undergraduate research. Further research is required to examine the association between clinical supervisors and publication rates from other curricular and extra-curricular research activities.
Relatively little is known about factors that influence successful research publication by medical students. We aimed to examine the impact of having a clinical supervisor (compared with full-time academic supervisors) on publication rates of Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMedSc(Hons)) theses at the University of Otago Medical School.
A secondary analysis of an existing dataset was conducted. Publications from undergraduate medical theses were previously identified using standardised criteria. Degree grade was obtained using a publicly available local search database.
Over a 10-year period (2002–2011), 36 (40.4%) out of 89 accepted theses resulted in 55 publications in peer-reviewed journals. There was a total of 137 supervisors (median 1 supervisor per student, range 1–3), 32.1% of whom were clinical supervisors (n=44). There were no statistically significant differences in the number of publications (P=0.10) or degree grades (P=0.49) between students who were supervised by clinical supervisors and those who were not.
Clinical supervisors appear just as effective as full-time researchers in supervising medical students undertaking an intercalated degree in terms of degree grade and research output. Future research should focus on examining the association between clinical supervisors and publication rates from other curricular and extra-curricular research projects, and focus on reasons behind our observed association.