Introduction: Clinical education is one of the most important components of the resource generation function of health systems, and it has a very important role in graduates' competency with respect to effective, practical education. This study aimed to assess the quality of clinical services in Kerman’s teaching hospitals located in southeastern Iran.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2011 on 303 medical students at different levels of medical education at Kerman’s teaching hospitals. A modified SERVQUAL instrument was used to collect the data after its validity and reliability were checked. The data were analyzed by SPSS 18.0 using the paired t-test, Kruskal-Wallis, and post hoc tests, when appropriate. 

Results: In all five dimensions of quality, gaps were observed between students’ perceptions and expectations as follows: Assurance (mean = -1.18), Responsiveness (-1.56), Empathy (-1.4), Reliability (-1.27), and Tangibles (-1.21). There was a significant difference between the quality perceptions and expectations of the medical students (p < 0.001). A significant difference was observed between three educational levels, including externships, internships, and assistantships regarding the dimensions of the quality gaps (p < 0.001). 

Conclusion: The clinical services provided by teaching hospitals in the study did not meet the students' expectations at any of the three educational levels. As we precisely assessed the dimensions and items that had the higher quality gaps, it was apparent that, for most part, clinical education officials could improve the quality by designing interventions, which would not be very difficult to do.


Keywords: SERVQUAL, clinical education, quality assessment, teaching hospital, Iran
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