Linking neuroscience theory to practice to help overcome student fear of neurology
Reports in the literature have attributed medical student fear of neurology to an inability to apply knowledge of the basic science to clinical situations. A teaching and learning initiative called case based teaching (CBT) was designed to help medical undergraduates integrate clinical neurology with the neuroscience that underpins it. In the context of the evaluation of a neurological case, students learned the correct technique for eliciting a large number of signs and symptoms, while applying their understanding of normal structure and function to interpret and understand the history, examination and investigation findings. Students were very positive about the practical, problem-solving, small group-learning environment, reporting that it facilitated the integration of nervous system structure and function with clinical medicine. Some admitted to a fear of neurology, which was helped by the limited initiative, but requested more CBT sessions to reduce their neurophobia. Many eminent groups in neurology education recommend integration of teaching in basic science and clinical neurology, and this report indicates that medical undergraduates value this approach too.