Exploring Undergraduate Public Health Students’ Experiences of Internship Courses: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Condidate Student Research Commit, Department of Medical education, School of Medical Education and Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Medical education, School of Medical Education and Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 MSc Student Research Commit, School of Public Health and Safety, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Currently, education means providing facilities that enable learners to acquire theoretical information and knowledge and help them put this knowledge into practice. Periodic reviews also serve as a first step required to gain a deeper understanding of problems and access to information and newer solutions. Therefore, to identify the challenges of clinical education, the present study focused on exploring undergraduate public health students’ experiences of internship courses.
Methods: This study used the conventional content analysis method. The participants were 11 undergraduate public health students of Qom University of Medical Sciences selected via purposive sampling in 2017. The data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews as well as focus group and the data collection process continued until the data were saturated. The content analysis was performed following Graneheim and Lundman’s model.
Results: The analysis of the data revealed five main themes. The main themes identified in this study were weak curriculum planning, poor communication between the faculty and health centers, the students’ unpreparedness to start the internship course, the staff’s lack of cooperation, and students’ expectations.
Conclusion: The present study indicated that most students faced many problems during their field internships and they demanded the improvement of the teaching processes of theoretical courses and practical skills. Therefore, officials of the educational system are required to plan more coherent programs, offer both theoretical and practical courses more effectively, and prepare students to start internship courses and establish effective communication.


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