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We previously identified and assembled a collection of novels in ebook format that had public health themes,1 which could potentially be used in medical education. Subsequently, we made 10 of those novels available at our medical school library on a hand-held device (Kobo eReader). In addition, another 10 novels in paperback format were also made available. Five novels shared both formats and all novels are described in an online report.2 The availability of these novels was regularly promoted by the library service to the fourth and fifth year medical students during the 2011 academic year (there were 87 and 90 of these students respectively).Despite this promotion, in a 12-month period (ending February 2012), there were only a total of 17 (42.5%) withdrawals of the reading device with the ebooks and 23 withdrawals of print novels (57.5%). Furthermore, medical students only withdrew the reading device five times and withdrew other novels 10 times (with the remainder being other users: medical school staff and other health sciences students).This apparent lack of interest in novels (regardless of format), contrasts with much more positive medical student attitudes to public health related movies3 and in terms of taking them out of this same library.4 Further to this, we recently (March/May 2012) surveyed the first two groups of medical students to undertake the public health run in 2012, using an anonymous written questionnaire. They reaffirmed high agreement with the provision of public health related movies (20/25 saying "agree" or "strongly agree"). When compared to reading a novel with public health themes, most "much preferred" (12/25) or "somewhat preferred" (7/25) a movie. Only one of these new students had taken out novels (ebook or hard copy) from the library even though (9/23) reported that they were aware that these particular resources were available.In summary, there appears to be fairly limited value in making novels available to medical students, at least in this particular university setting. In contrast, there is evidence for higher student interest in movies with public health themes. Therefore using the latter may be preferable for encouraging student engagement with public health and social issues.Nick Wilson1, Anne Tucker2, Maxine Schutte1, Peter Gallagher1, Philippa Howden-Chapman11 University of Otago Wellington, PO Box 7343 Wellington South, New Zealand (NZ)2 Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Wellington, NZ

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Wilson N, Howden-Chapman P, Tucker A, Fullerton S. Free and for-purchase ebooks of novels with public health themes. Med Teach 2011;33:509.Wilson N, Tucker A, Schutte A, et al. Learning about public health via novels: Ebooks and print formats. Wellington: University of Otago, Wellington, 2012. http://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/otago031591.pdfGallagher P, Wilson N, Edwards R, et al. A pilot study of medical student attitudes to, and use of, commercial movies that address public health issues. BMC Res Notes 2011;4:111.Wilson N, Gallagher P, Schutte M. Movies with public health themes at a medical school library: interest and uptake. N Z Med J 2011;124:101-3.

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We previously identified and assembled a collection of novels in ebook format that had public health themes,1 which could potentially be used in medical education. Subsequently, we made 10 of those novels available at our medical school library on a hand-held device (Kobo eReader). In addition, another 10 novels in paperback format were also made available. Five novels shared both formats and all novels are described in an online report.2 The availability of these novels was regularly promoted by the library service to the fourth and fifth year medical students during the 2011 academic year (there were 87 and 90 of these students respectively).Despite this promotion, in a 12-month period (ending February 2012), there were only a total of 17 (42.5%) withdrawals of the reading device with the ebooks and 23 withdrawals of print novels (57.5%). Furthermore, medical students only withdrew the reading device five times and withdrew other novels 10 times (with the remainder being other users: medical school staff and other health sciences students).This apparent lack of interest in novels (regardless of format), contrasts with much more positive medical student attitudes to public health related movies3 and in terms of taking them out of this same library.4 Further to this, we recently (March/May 2012) surveyed the first two groups of medical students to undertake the public health run in 2012, using an anonymous written questionnaire. They reaffirmed high agreement with the provision of public health related movies (20/25 saying "agree" or "strongly agree"). When compared to reading a novel with public health themes, most "much preferred" (12/25) or "somewhat preferred" (7/25) a movie. Only one of these new students had taken out novels (ebook or hard copy) from the library even though (9/23) reported that they were aware that these particular resources were available.In summary, there appears to be fairly limited value in making novels available to medical students, at least in this particular university setting. In contrast, there is evidence for higher student interest in movies with public health themes. Therefore using the latter may be preferable for encouraging student engagement with public health and social issues.Nick Wilson1, Anne Tucker2, Maxine Schutte1, Peter Gallagher1, Philippa Howden-Chapman11 University of Otago Wellington, PO Box 7343 Wellington South, New Zealand (NZ)2 Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Wellington, NZ

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Wilson N, Howden-Chapman P, Tucker A, Fullerton S. Free and for-purchase ebooks of novels with public health themes. Med Teach 2011;33:509.Wilson N, Tucker A, Schutte A, et al. Learning about public health via novels: Ebooks and print formats. Wellington: University of Otago, Wellington, 2012. http://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/otago031591.pdfGallagher P, Wilson N, Edwards R, et al. A pilot study of medical student attitudes to, and use of, commercial movies that address public health issues. BMC Res Notes 2011;4:111.Wilson N, Gallagher P, Schutte M. Movies with public health themes at a medical school library: interest and uptake. N Z Med J 2011;124:101-3.

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

We previously identified and assembled a collection of novels in ebook format that had public health themes,1 which could potentially be used in medical education. Subsequently, we made 10 of those novels available at our medical school library on a hand-held device (Kobo eReader). In addition, another 10 novels in paperback format were also made available. Five novels shared both formats and all novels are described in an online report.2 The availability of these novels was regularly promoted by the library service to the fourth and fifth year medical students during the 2011 academic year (there were 87 and 90 of these students respectively).Despite this promotion, in a 12-month period (ending February 2012), there were only a total of 17 (42.5%) withdrawals of the reading device with the ebooks and 23 withdrawals of print novels (57.5%). Furthermore, medical students only withdrew the reading device five times and withdrew other novels 10 times (with the remainder being other users: medical school staff and other health sciences students).This apparent lack of interest in novels (regardless of format), contrasts with much more positive medical student attitudes to public health related movies3 and in terms of taking them out of this same library.4 Further to this, we recently (March/May 2012) surveyed the first two groups of medical students to undertake the public health run in 2012, using an anonymous written questionnaire. They reaffirmed high agreement with the provision of public health related movies (20/25 saying "agree" or "strongly agree"). When compared to reading a novel with public health themes, most "much preferred" (12/25) or "somewhat preferred" (7/25) a movie. Only one of these new students had taken out novels (ebook or hard copy) from the library even though (9/23) reported that they were aware that these particular resources were available.In summary, there appears to be fairly limited value in making novels available to medical students, at least in this particular university setting. In contrast, there is evidence for higher student interest in movies with public health themes. Therefore using the latter may be preferable for encouraging student engagement with public health and social issues.Nick Wilson1, Anne Tucker2, Maxine Schutte1, Peter Gallagher1, Philippa Howden-Chapman11 University of Otago Wellington, PO Box 7343 Wellington South, New Zealand (NZ)2 Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Wellington, NZ

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Wilson N, Howden-Chapman P, Tucker A, Fullerton S. Free and for-purchase ebooks of novels with public health themes. Med Teach 2011;33:509.Wilson N, Tucker A, Schutte A, et al. Learning about public health via novels: Ebooks and print formats. Wellington: University of Otago, Wellington, 2012. http://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/otago031591.pdfGallagher P, Wilson N, Edwards R, et al. A pilot study of medical student attitudes to, and use of, commercial movies that address public health issues. BMC Res Notes 2011;4:111.Wilson N, Gallagher P, Schutte M. Movies with public health themes at a medical school library: interest and uptake. N Z Med J 2011;124:101-3.

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