The product of outcome-based undergraduate medical education: competencies and readiness for internship.
Outcome-based curriculum is adopted at the International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia, where specific learning objectives are laid out progressively under eight major outcomes. We present an outcome-guided, self-reported competency profile of our undergraduate students near the end of their training, focusing on elements that are considered most immediately relevant for their internship. Anonymous surveys were conducted on two cohorts of medical students in their final semester at IMU. The surveys covered a range of competencies, including practical skills, ward routines, generic attributes and evidence-based medicine, grouped under the exit outcomes as defined by the university. A total of 92 students were assessed. In general, the students were confident of their ability on common practical skills and ward routines. They were comfortable with the level of professionalism and personal attributes required for internship, with the prospect of handling unexpected additional tasks and working away from home perceived as the main difficulties. Most students referred to at least three sources of clinical information to answer their clinical queries. However, they referred more to single journals than databases or collections. The majority could critically appraise journal articles to a variable extent, but nearly half took 30 minutes or longer to trace an abstract of interest. This report demonstrates the strength of outcome-based curriculum in its ability to produce competent students that are well prepared for their internship. Assessing students using this educational approach provides a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses, and identifies stages in their training where additional inputs are required.