Evaluating Medical Interns’ Knowledge about Acute Pancreatitis Using Problem-Based Learning

ABSTRACT Acute pancreatitis is a frequent disease in general hospitals wards; it has a multifactorial etiology and can lead to severe alterations of the various corporeal systems. The internship generally represents the time when medical students consolidate the knowledge they have gradually acquired during the initial stages of their course. Several medical courses are currently undergoing a change in pedagogical focus, with the adoption of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method in relation to knowledge about acute pancreatitis among medical intern students from a private university in the interior of São Paulo state, compared to the traditional learning method. It is a descriptive and transversal study with a quantitative approach. The sample consisted of 40 sixth-year medicine students of a private higher education institution in São Paulo state, in the second semester of 2015. A comparative evaluation was made between the knowledge about the matter among the study group and the control group. The Student t parametric test was applied to two independent groups, resulting in the finding that the students who participated in the PBL tutorial sessions performed better in the assessment test, with p = 0.013. Hence, in addition to the advantages already known in relation to the preparation of proactive medical professionals, in tune with the feelings of their working environment, their peers and patients, the method is also proven to be efficient in continuing the teaching-learning process during medical internship. It is therefore concluded that this teaching-learning method be employed at the medical school in the study. It is also proposed that the research be continued with resident physicians, to evaluate the acquisition of knowledge of other pathologies and other specialties, comparing PBL to traditional methods in order to achieve greater support for the adoption of the PBL method in this stage of medical training.