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Clinical Breast Exam Video and Presentation MedEdPORTAL Publications Patten C, Redlich P, Kong A. Clinical breast exam video and presentation. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10351.




The clinical breast exam (CBE) evaluates breast-related complaints, detects palpable abnormalities, and permits physical characterization of the abnormalities. The competency of trainees to accurately perform all of the components of the CBE has been questioned. Findings from multiple studies indicate that many health care professionals believe they need, and are receptive to, more training on the CBE. Therefore, the goal of this project is to provide educational resources that are web accessible to trainees in order to increase their knowledge of the CBE and to demonstrate proper techniques. Two complementary educational resources comprise our product: an 11-minute, 13-second CBE video and a 37-slide video-segment embedded PowerPoint presentation. Having two resources reinforces learning in different ways, depending on the preferred learning style of the viewer. The short nature of the video allows for just-in-time viewing by the trainee, permitting students to quickly review key components of the CBE prior to examining patients.

This learning tool is currently provided to third-year medical students on the surgery clerkship rotation at the Medical College of Wisconsin who have found both the video-embedded PowerPoint and the CBE video to be helpful. The students report that these resources improved their preparedness and confidence in performing the CBE as a component of the objective structured clinical examination breast station. These resources have been well received in various learner venues and are now offered to students as part of the preclinical physical exam course, surgery clerkship rotation, and women’s health resident rotation.

The work has been provided to medical students at the second- and third-year level. Specifically, the CBE video and PowerPoint have been implemented in the third-year surgical clerkship. A total of 121 students rotated on the clerkship over 8 months and completed a survey about these educational products. Of various resources available for learning the CBE, the video and PowerPoint received the highest ratings (4.2 and 4.0, respectively, with 5 = highest rating), while reading the surgical text received the lowest rating (3.2). Confidence in performing a CBE in a clinical encounter improved from 2.6 to 3.5 (5 = exceptionally confident; p = .001) after viewing the video or PowerPoint. In a regression analysis, the video was a significant predictor (p = .001) of preparedness for a breast station objective structured clinical examination.

Following the collection of these data, the CBE video and PowerPoint are now part of the required surgical clerkship curriculum.

The CBE video has also been used by second-year students during the physical diagnosis course prior to their hands-on experience conducting a breast exam on standardized patients. As an anecdote, the video has been a helpful adjunct to a faculty-led session on the standardized patient just prior to conducting a CBE by students. Also, the video has been used by residents during a women's health rotation.

Author List

Patten, C., Redlich, P. and Kong,A.


Caitlin R. Patten MD, FACS Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

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