<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The Croatian higher education system is in the process of reforming its medical curricula to comply with European Union standards. We conducted a survey of students enrolled at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) asking them to rate their perception of preparedness for clinical practice prior to initiation of the reform process. The purpose of the survey was to identify self-perceived deficiencies in education and to establish a reference point for the later assessment of ongoing educational reform.</p> <p>Findings</p> <p>One-hundred and forty seven (N = 147) graduates reported the levels of perceived preparedness on 30 items grouped into 8 educational domains. Main domains were: understanding science, practical skills/patient management, holistic care, prevention, interpersonal skills, confidence/coping skills, collaboration, and self-directed learning. For each item, graduates self assessed their preparedness on a scale ranging from 1 to 4, with 1 = "Very inadequate", 2 = "Somewhat inadequate", 3 = "Somewhat adequate", and 4 = "Very adequate". In 7 out of 8 domains the achieved median score was ≥ 3. Students expressed low confidence (defined when ≥ 25% of respondents supplied a rating for the survey question as: "very inadequate" or "somewhat inadequate") with interpersonal skills (discussing terminal disease, counseling distraught patients, balancing professional and personal life), and in performing certain basic semi-invasive or invasive procedures.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Zagreb medical graduates identified several deficiencies within educational domains required for standard clinical practice. Ongoing educational efforts need to be directed towards the correction of these deficiencies in order to achieve standards required by the European Union.</p
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