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B a c k g r o u n d: The digital rectal examination (DRE) is a part of the standard physical examination and a useful diagnostic tool for detecting various lower gastrointestinal tract abnormalities. However nowadays it has been observed that medical students might not be properly prepared for performing and interpreting of DRE. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the knowledge and experience of Polish medical students about DRE. Ma t e r i a l a n d M e t h o d s: A prospective study was carried out using a questionnaire accessible via internet platform. The survey consisted of 12 questions and considered experience as well as practical and theoretical knowledge about DRE. 976 responses from nine Polish medical universities were included in the study. R e s u l t s: 38.68% of students have never performed DRE with “lack of opportunity during courses” (71.09%) as the most common reason. Among responders who performed this examination only 12.72% had done it more than two times. Usefulness of DRE was mostly assessed as high and very high (55.63%). Students in the self-assessment part indicated low and very low (18.72% and 39.61%) technical abilities and also low (25.34%) interpretation skills. C on c l u s i o n: The knowledge of Polish medical students about DRE is insuffi cient. Medical universities should pay particular attention to this fi eld of examination to improve theoretical as well as practical skills of future doctors.
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