Medical Interns’ and Clerkship Students’ Viewpoints on Nutrition Course in Birjand University of Medical Sciences

Reza Ghaderi, Pouya Nezafati, Sepideh Saghafi



 Background and purpose: Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining and promoting health and preventing diseases. In most medical schools, Nutrition education is not sufficient and only 26% of college students have proper nutritional education programs. Physicians should use their knowledge through education and counseling with patients and healthy people to increase people’s level of health. Poor eating habits are considered as a factor of chronic disease. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine medical interns and clerkship students’ viewpoint about nutrition course at a specific medical school.

Methods: This study was descriptive and 87 interns and clerkship students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences participated. The data were collected using a valid and reliable questionnaire based on the existing topics in nutrition, the time allocated, their educational needs as well as the issues that physicians have the greatest exposure to. After completing the questionnaire, all of the data were collected, coded, and analyzed using SPSS software, version 15. The chi-square test was used to compare the views of interns and medical students.

Results: Of the participants, 72.4% were female, 27.6% were male, 57.5% were medical students, and 42.5% were interns. According to these students, 51.7% considered one nutrition course in the second semester to be appropriate, and that the topic of improved nutrition in vulnerable groups was more effective during the clinical stage (63.2%). In addition, the need to learn about nutrition in vulnerable groups, foods and nutritious, diseases caused by malnutrition, and food health (66.7%, 57.5%, 54%, and 52.9%, respectively) was considered to be more important. Moreover, 55.2% of the participants considered nutrition in vulnerable groups to be highly relevant, while 51.7% believed that malnutrition-related diseases was more relevant. Most of the students considered the topics of foods and nutrients, food health, nutrition of vulnerable groups, and malnutrition-related diseases with high professional applicability to be highly functional (64.4%, 56.3%, 51.7%, and 50.6%, respectively); and most participants (89.7%) believed that learning about hospital diets was essential. There was a significant difference between men and women in terms of their views on the appropriateness of the topics of the nutrition course with regard to current social problems so that 70.8% of the men believed they fit the current social problems, while 55.5% of the women thought they were inappropriate.

Conclusions: Considering the importance of a nutrition course, it is better to provide topics related to the clerkship period, with the applicability of the clinical setting being taught at the same time.




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