Authors: MUDr Silvia Hnilicova PhD, Athina-Ioanna Daponte, Amiria Dal Grande, Fabian Schmitt, Yuki Senoo:
Institution: Medical Faculty of Comenius University
The S2S Project is intended to engage senior medical students to tutor second-year students in physiology to their mutual benefit; both parties will obtain a depth of knowledge and understanding of the subject.
It all started in 2016, when international students from the General Medicine Department wanted to establish peer-to-peer teaching at Comenius University in Bratislava. The near-to-peer teaching technique has been established in the US and Germany as part of medical education; it has been successful thanks to the guidance, supervision and organization of MUDr Hnilicova, PhD.
A few questions were addressed to the project founders:
Picture1. Certificate Ceremony - S2S Co- Founders with MUDr. Hnilicová, PhD and Prof. MUDr. Ostatniková, PhD
What does near-to-peer teaching mean?
Near-to-peer teaching means that older students teach subjects with which they are well-acquainted to younger students. Since physiology is taught in the second year of studies, the student-leader was already in their third year of studies or older.
Why was S2S created and what does it have to offer?
In our second year, we really liked physiology, and when we went to the clinics in our third year, we realized the importance of a comprehensive knowledge of physiology (the physical functions of the body) to recognize and diagnose pathological processes.
We wanted a program that would allow us to apply our knowledge (from practical experience and lectures) to critical medical thinking and bring us a step further, preparing us to be clinical medical students. We believed the best way would be by applying the near-to-peer teaching method, which already exists on a worldwide basis, mostly related to anatomy.
Picture.2 Creating a lung model - tutorial about the respiratory system - new ways to integrate knowledge and have fun :)
What did you gain from S2S as student-leaders?
First, we gained a deeper understanding of physiology topics; teaching promotes the highest level of understanding and integration of a subject. We also had the opportunity to practice our knowledge through clinical cases at the Simulation Center (where tutorials were held) and, of course, master public speaking. Teaching is an important skill for future residency training and vital to practice as an additional qualification.
Picture 3. Certificate Ceremony - Student leaders of the past two years
What makes the S2S project unique?
The student leaders have recently gone through the same material that second-year students face. They know about the difficulties, fears and challenges and can add a new perspective on learning about a topic. S2S has not only created a trusting atmosphere for sharing questions and ideas; it has also provided new learning tools and advice about how to successfully pass physiology exams. As a result, participants have been encouraged to achieve a higher level of understanding, allowing them to interconnect various subjects more easily, become more effective physicians and increase their motivation to study preclinical subjects. The faculty (and university as a whole) can benefit from S2S by involving international students and promoting teamwork and cooperation between them.
Through S2S, international students created an opportunity to actively engage with the university and implement their ideas concerning medical education.