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    Background: Medical students report low confidence in their ability to perform pelvic exams. Pelvic exams under anesthesia (EUA) are one way for students to practice the exam, but this needs to be balanced with patients' bodily autonomy through explicit disclosure and consent. This study seeks to characterize U.S. medical schools' policies regarding the consent process for students to perform pelvic EUA. Materials and Methods: Obstetrics and gynecology clerkship directors were anonymously surveyed about their medical school affiliated hospitals' (MSAH) consent policies for pelvic EUA in general and explicitly for medical students. Chi-square and Fisher's exact test were used to test for differences between categorical variables and thematic analysis was used to review qualitative responses. Results: A total of 87 clerkship directors completed the survey (44.4% response rate). Most MSAH explicitly consent patients for pelvic EUA (80.2%), and specifically for performance by medical students (79.1%). Sixty-nine respondents (79.3%) stated that performing pelvic EUA is important for medical student education. Five themes were identified from review of qualitative responses, including consent policy details, the importance of pelvic EUA, other opportunities for pelvic exam teaching, barriers to standardization, and outside guidance. Conclusions: The pelvic EUA is a necessary part of both surgical care and medical education but patient dignity must be protected too. Most MSAH have consent policies for students to perform pelvic EUA. Still, these policies need to be further strengthened and standardized across institutions to protect patients' rights while continuing to teach students the pelvic exam.


    Abigail M Kempf, Andrea Pelletier, Deborah Bartz, Natasha R Johnson. Consent Policies for Pelvic Exams Under Anesthesia Performed by Medical Students: A National Assessment. Journal of women's health (2002). 2023 Nov;32(11):1161-1165

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    PMID: 37819749

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