September 1973

Competence of Child Health Associates

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans

Am J Dis Child. 1973;126(3):413. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.02110190355023

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To the Editor.—The recent article by Machotka et al in the February 1973 issue of the Journal (125:199-203) contains some serious errors which should have altered the authors' conclusions about the education of Child Health Associates. The authors evaluated the knowledge of the three groups of students with tests that were not uniform. The examination on basic sciences was a specific basic science test designed to cover material in the Child Health Associates' curriculum. The examination on clinical pediatrics was with a departmental examination developed by members of the Pediatrics Department. Neither of these tests would be satisfactory for establishing any of the groups' competence in either area.

A different set of conclusions would be more appropriate. First, junior medical students do not adequately retain basic medical science information, nor do they learn very much about clinical pediatrics during their rotation on pediatrics. Second, any group of reasonably intelligent

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