Ann Rheum Dis 59:668-671 doi:10.1136/ard.59.9.668
  • Article
  • Series on education

Impact on medical students of incorporating GALS screen teaching into the medical school curriculum

  1. R A Foxa,
  2. J E Dacrea,
  3. C L Ingham Clarkb,
  4. A D Scotlandc
  1. aCentre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education (CHIME), Royal Free and University College, Medical School, London UK, bThe Whittington Hospital, London UK, cChelsea and Westminster Hospital, London UK
  1. Dr R Fox, CHIME, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, Centre For Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education, 4th Floor Holborn Union Building, The Archway Campus, Highgate Hill, London N19 3UA, UK{at}
  • Accepted 29 June 2000


OBJECTIVE To assess the impact of GALS locomotor screen teaching to all 3rd year medical students, at a British medical school.

METHOD In 1998, during their 3rd year, all students were taught the GALS screen in a one hour small group session. At the end of this year, 242 medical students undertook a 16 station Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). One station assessed the locomotor screening examination, while six stations assessed the examination of other systems. The students completed a five point likert scale, self rating their confidence in each of the skills assessed at this time. Pre-registration house officers (PRHOs) at two London hospitals were invited to undertake the same OSCE and self rating.

RESULTS The students performed the locomotor screen well (mean station score 80%). Three body systems were examined better and one significantly worse (p<0.05). 22/40 PRHOs undertook the assessment. Compared with the students they examined the locomotor system (mean score 20%, p<0.001), but not other systems, less well. The PRHOs felt less confident (p<0.05) examining the locomotor system (mean rating 3.6/5) than the other systems (mean rating 4.6/5), while no significant difference in confidence ratings was seen for the students.

CONCLUSION Students who are taught the GALS screen as part of the curriculum, perform it well in an end of year OSCE, as confidently as other systems, and to a higher standard than PRHOs. Further study is required to determine whether this benefit persists, overcoming the poor skills and confidence in locomotor examination of existing PRHOs, not previously taught a GALS screen.