Medical school attrition-beyond the statistics a ten year retrospective study

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dc.contributor.author Maher, Bridget M.
dc.contributor.author Hynes, Helen
dc.contributor.author Sweeney, Catherine
dc.contributor.author Khashan, Ali S.
dc.contributor.author O'Rourke, Margaret
dc.contributor.author Doran, Kieran
dc.contributor.author Harris, Anne
dc.contributor.author O'Flynn, Siun
dc.date.accessioned 2016-02-25T17:12:26Z
dc.date.available 2016-02-25T17:12:26Z
dc.date.issued 2013-01-31
dc.identifier.citation MAHER, B. M., HYNES, H., SWEENEY, C., KHASHAN, A. S., O’ROURKE, M., DORAN, K., HARRIS, A. & O' FLYNN, S. 2013. Medical school attrition-beyond the statistics a ten year retrospective study. BMC Medical Education, 13:13, 1-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-13-13 en
dc.identifier.volume 13 en
dc.identifier.startpage 1 en
dc.identifier.endpage 16 en
dc.identifier.issn 1472-6920
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/2400
dc.identifier.doi 10.1186/1472-6920-13-13
dc.description.abstract Background: Medical school attrition is important - securing a place in medical school is difficult and a high attrition rate can affect the academic reputation of a medical school and staff morale. More important, however, are the personal consequences of dropout for the student. The aims of our study were to examine factors associated with attrition over a ten-year period (2001–2011) and to study the personal effects of dropout on individual students. Methods: The study included quantitative analysis of completed cohorts and qualitative analysis of ten-year data. Data were collected from individual student files, examination and admission records, exit interviews and staff interviews. Statistical analysis was carried out on five successive completed cohorts. Qualitative data from student files was transcribed and independently analysed by three authors. Data was coded and categorized and key themes were identified. Results: Overall attrition rate was 5.7% (45/779) in 6 completed cohorts when students who transferred to other medical courses were excluded. Students from Kuwait and United Arab Emirates had the highest dropout rate (RR = 5.70, 95% Confidence Intervals 2.65 to 12.27;p < 0.0001) compared to Irish and EU students combined. North American students had a higher dropout rate than Irish and EU students; RR = 2.68 (1.09 to 6.58;p = 0.027) but this was not significant when transfers were excluded (RR = 1.32(0.38, 4.62);p = 0.75). Male students were more likely to dropout than females (RR 1.70, .93 to 3.11) but this was not significant (p = 0.079). Absenteeism was documented in 30% of students, academic difficulty in 55.7%, social isolation in 20%, and psychological morbidity in 40% (higher than other studies). Qualitative analysis revealed recurrent themes of isolation, failure, and despair. Student Welfare services were only accessed by one-third of dropout students. Conclusions: While dropout is often multifactorial, certain red flag signals may alert us to risk of dropout including non-EU origin, academic struggling, absenteeism, social isolation, depression and leave of absence. Psychological morbidity amongst dropout students is high and Student Welfare services should be actively promoted. Absenteeism should prompt early intervention. Behind every dropout statistic lies a personal story. All medical schools have a duty of care to support students who leave the medical programme. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher BioMed Central Ltd. en
dc.rights © Maher et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. en
dc.rights.uri http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0 en
dc.subject Medical school attrition en
dc.subject Dropout en
dc.subject Exit interviews en
dc.subject Student welfare services en
dc.subject Academic difficulty en
dc.subject Absenteeism en
dc.title Medical school attrition-beyond the statistics a ten year retrospective study en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Bridget Maher, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: b.maher@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.description.version Published Version en
dc.internal.rssid 206307609
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle BMC Medical Education en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress b.maher@ucc.ie en
dc.identifier.articleid 13


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© Maher et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © Maher et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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