Background: Failure to transfer procedural skills learned in a laboratory to the bedside is commonly due to a lack of peer support/stimulation. A digital platform (Facebook) allows new clinical clerks to share experiences and tips that help augment their procedural skills in a peer-assisted learning/teaching method. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of the innovation of using the digital platform to support the transfer of laboratory-trained procedural skills in the clinical units. Methods: Volunteer clinical clerks (n = 44) were enrolled into the peer-assisted learning (PAL) group, which was characterized by the peer-assisted learning of procedural skills during their final 3-month clinical clerkship block. Other clerks (n = 51) did not join the procedural skills-specific Facebook group and served as the self-directed learning regular group. The participants in both the PAL and regular groups completed pre- and post-intervention self-assessments for general self-assessed efficiency ratings (GSER) and skills specific self-assessed efficiency ratings (SSSER) for performing vein puncture, intravenous (IV) catheter and nasogastric (NG) tube insertion. Finally, all clerks received the post-intervention 3-station Objective Structured Clinical Skills Examination (OSCE) to test their proficiency for the abovementioned three procedural skills. Results: Higher cumulative numbers of vein punctures, IV catheter insertions and NG tube insertions at the bedside were carried out by the PAL group than the regular group. A greater improvement in GSERs and SSSERs for medical procedures was found in the PAL group than in the regular group. The PAL group obtained higher procedural skills scores in the post-intervention OSCEs than the regular group. Conclusion: Our study suggested that the implementation of a procedural skill-specific digital platform effectively helps clerks to transfer laboratory-trained procedural skills into the clinical units. In comparison with the regular self-directed learning group, the peer-assisted learning characteristics of Facebook give additional benefits to the PAL group by enhancing their procedural skills.
- Peer-assisted learning
- Procedural skills