Despite the widespread introduction of active learning strategies to engage students across modern medical curricula, student attendance and attendance monitoring remain a challenging issue for medical educators. In addition, there is little published evidence available to medical educators regarding the use of attendance monitoring systems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the opinions of students and staff about the use of a paper-based student logbook to record student attendance across all clinical and classroom-based learning activities within an undergraduate clinical rotation in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN).
Each student undertaking the clinical rotation in OBGYN was required to complete a paper-based logbook in a booklet format that listed every clinical and classroom-based activity that the student was expected to attend. A cross-sectional survey evaluating the acceptability, practicality, and effect on access to learning opportunities of using the logbook was undertaken. The survey was conducted among all medical students who completed their OBGYN rotation over a full academic year and staff who taught on the program.
The response rate was 87% (n=128/147) among students and 80% (n=8/10) among staff. Monitoring attendance was widely acceptable to students (n=107/128, 84%) and staff (n=8/8, 100%). Most students (n=95/128, 74%) and staff (n=7/8, 88%) recommended that attendance should be mandatory during rotations. Almost all staff felt that attendance should contribute toward academic credit (n=7/8, 88%), but students were divided (n=73/128, 57%). Students (n=94/128, 73%) and staff (n=6/8, 75%) reported that the use of the logbook to record attendance with tutor signatures was a satisfactory system, although students questioned the need for recording attendance at every classroom-based activity. Most students felt that the logbook facilitated access to learning experiences during the rotation (n=90/128, 71%). Staff felt that the process of signing logbooks improved their interaction with students (n=6/8, 75%).
The survey showed that the use of a paper-based logbook to record medical student attendance with tutor signatures across all clinical and classroom-based learning activities was acceptable and practical for students and staff and was felt to facilitate access to learning opportunities. The study provides medical educators with evidence to support monitoring of attendance within clinical rotations.