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The Medical College of Wisconsin Senior Mentor Program: experience of a lifetime.

Gerontology & geriatrics education. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Senior Mentor Program (SMP) has been offered to a small group of first and second year medical students as a course alternative to the traditional physician mentor program. The program links students with healthy older adult mentors and includes mentor/student visits, didactic sessions, written assignments, and shadowing experiences. The goals of the course are to increase positive attitudes about aging and geriatrics and to teach basic assessment and interviewing skills in geriatric content areas. A course evaluation including questionnaires, focus groups, and content analysis found that students experienced positive attitude change about geriatric patient care, increased knowledge about geriatrics, and satisfaction with the mentor/student relationship. Students have reported gains in their knowledge of geriatric and gait assessment, ADL evaluation, and mental health screening, among other issues. Further, students report being excited, more comfortable, and less fearful caring for and interacting professionally with older adults as a result of the SMP. The SMP is an effective and meaningful method of geriatric education for preclinical students. It may be an alternative at medical schools that cannot support a large-scale multi-year senior mentor program.
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