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Journal of Biomedical Education
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 948651, 5 pages
Research Article

Bedside Teaching in Australian Clinical Schools: A National Study

1University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2St George Hospital, Kogarah, Sydney, NSW 2217, Australia
3Nepean Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2747, Australia
4Department of Surgery, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 13 August 2013; Revised 20 October 2013; Accepted 20 October 2013

Academic Editor: Saeed Farooq

Copyright © 2013 Praveen L. Indraratna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Bedside teaching (BST) of medical students has become less common in recent years; however, there have been strong recommendations made in the literature to continue this teaching modality for the valued benefits it provides. The purpose of the present study is to explore the perceptions and opinions of bedside teaching among senior Australian medical students. Methods. Medical students at Australian universities were surveyed by means of an electronic questionnaire. The results were collected and analysed. Results. A total of 517 responses were received from students at 15 universities and 94 different clinical sites. The percentage of students who identified BST as very important ranged from 62.5% in psychiatry to 90.4% in internal medicine. The optimal class size was nominated as 3-4 students, and students favoured a style where one individual performs a complete examination, with the remainder allowed to elicit the key sign afterwards. Students felt 3-4 hours of BST per week to be ideal. Advantages identified to BST included provision of feedback and elicitation of clinical signs. Disadvantages included time constraints and excessive class sizes. Conclusions. The unique benefits of BST result in its high demand by students, regardless of the discipline being taught.