Supervisors play a crucial role in the success of medical students' degree projects
Riitta Möller and Mimmi Shoshan at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Sari Ponzer at the Department of Clinical Science and Education, have published a paper in Läkartidningen on the role of the supervisor for the success of medical students in their degree projects [Handledaren har avgörande roll för läkarstudentens examensarbete].
In Sweden degree projects have a central role in evaluation of higher education, wherefore significant resources are spent on developing students’ research competence. The undergraduate medical program at Karolinska Institutet introduced its degree project course in 2010 and this is coordinated by the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
This paper gives an overview of the course and summarizes experiences from the first seven terms. In order to finalize their projects within one term, most students need substantial support. A highly structured course and frequent progress monitoring are advantageous. Other crucial factors are the quality of the supervision and students’ verbal skills as well as support in scientific writing. In addition, increased awareness of the learning outcomes already at the beginning of the course may help students to achieve the expected results. Finally, students need to recognize their own responsibility for learning.