A questionnaire survey comparing the educational priorities of patients and medical students in the management of multiple sclerosis.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the educational priorities patients and students raise concerning the management of multiple sclerosis (MS). DESIGN/SETTING: A single-centre comparative questionnaire survey conducted in a foundation trust hospital which provides teaching for one UK medical school. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 255 people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) and 125 final year medical students attending a mandatory module were invited to participate. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Questionnaires were developed and piloted for thisstudy and analysed on the basis of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health terminology. RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 125 (50%) pwMS (age range 36-86 years; median 58) and 96 (77%) medical students (age range 22-37 years; median 23). The most commonly reported priority listed by people with MS and students concerned 'environmental contextual factors' (95.5% and 99%, respectively). PwMS focused primarily on the 'social and attitudinal aspects' of the environment (53.6%), while students expressed greater interest in the use of medications (91.7%) and investigations (14.6%) (p < 0.001). People with greater psychological or physical impact of the condition were more likely to prioritise 'health condition' topics. CONCLUSIONS: PwMS and medical students identify different topics when asked to list aspects of management of MS which they deem to be important for medical student teaching. These differences in educational priorities should be taken into consideration when teaching students about MS. The findings may also apply to other long-term neurological conditions and warrant further investigation.