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Intensive care medicine teaching in a Brazilian medical school: the student's perspective


Several medical schools do not have a specific discipline for the teaching of intensive care medicine (ICM) topics in their curriculum. As a result, students often seek exposure to ICM in extracurricular activities.


To analyze the interest and contact with ICM among students of a Brazilian public medical school.


This is a descriptive study. We applied a questionnaire to enroll students between the sixth and the final semesters.


We studied 216 students. The mean age was 22.8 ± 1.7 years, and 61.7% (n = 129) were men. Most of them (56.5%, n = 122) had never frequented an ICU despite classifying the usefulness of an apprenticeship in this area as high (average of 4.3 ± 0.9, in a scale from 1 to 5). The main reason for not frequenting an ICU was lack of opportunity to do so (80.9%, n = 93). Among students that had already frequented an ICU, 81.9% did so exclusively as part of extracurricular activities; the main reason for seeking this exposure was interest in ICM as a future specialty (37.7%, n = 26). Almost all students (98.6%, n = 212) thought that ICM topics should be more explored at their university. The main causes for students' dissatisfaction with ICM teaching at their university were: disinterest of the manager (65.5%, n = 135), disinterest of the teachers (24.3%, n = 50) and lack of qualified teachers (14.4%, n = 31). Although most students (55.3%, n = 119) had already participated in a discussion to send a patient to the ICU, 32.4% (n = 36) thought they were not capable of identifying a patient with the need for intensive care. On a scale from 1 to 5, the mean interest in ICM was 3.6 ± 1.0. The most popular topics were: shock (4.74 ± 0.60), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (4.73 ± 0.64), and SIRS/sepsis (4.63 ± 0.66). The procedures that more students had contact with were: peripheral venous access (40.9%, n = 88); cardiopulmonary resuscitation (28.4%, n = 61); and passage of a vesical probe (25.6%, n = 55).


This study revealed a high interest in ICM topics among medical students. However, the majority of the population studied had not frequented an ICU before. Moreover, of those who had already frequented an ICU, most had done so in units outside the academic atmosphere.

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Albuquerque, L., Almeida, A., Bitencourt, A. et al. Intensive care medicine teaching in a Brazilian medical school: the student's perspective. Crit Care 9 (Suppl 2), P109 (2005).

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  • Medical School
  • Medical Student
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Descriptive Study
  • High Interest