Teaching medical students how to deliver diagnoses of Down syndrome: Utility of an educational tool

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Objective: This study assessed whether using an educational tool increased the knowledge and perceived comfort level of first-year medical students in giving a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Method: A total of 295 students taking a genetics course completed a knowledge questionnaire and Situations Inventory (aimed at assessing comfort with sharing certain information), prior to and following use of Brighter Tomorrows, a web-based educational module on giving parents a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Results: The pre-intervention mean on the knowledge survey was 3.67, which significantly increased to 5.47 following the intervention. Mean Situational Inventory scores were significantly higher pre-intervention (M = 45.5), which indicates greater discomfort, compared to post-intervention (M = 36.7). Qualitative analysis of responses regarding lessons learned fell into 5 major themes. The most common theme (48% of responses) was related to communication skills. The most frequently cited lesson learned was the importance of demonstrating empathy. Conclusions: This study found that knowledge and perceived comfort levels of first-year medical students in giving a postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome were significantly increased following use of an educational tool. Practice Implications: Educational modules can provide medical students with foundational knowledge on providing distressing information to help prepare for future clinical encounters.

This document is currently not available here.