Virginia F. Randall, MD MPH; Janice L. Hanson, PhD, EdS Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
Objective: To determine if a qualitative analysis of students' comments on an end-of-clerkship evaluation can describe strengths and weaknesses of the learning environment, specifically learner-centered learning and professionalism of faculty. This information could assist faculty in meeting the new LCME standard on "learning environment."
Method: A preliminary qualitative analysis was conducted of anonymous student comments in an end-of-the-clerkship questionnaire (AY05-06.) The data included comments elicited by open-ended questions from 154 students at all 6 pediatric clerkship sites for USU.
Results: Themes in the comments were identified and grouped into two categories: 1. Structure and logistics of the clerkship (expectations; organization; variety of patient experiences); 2. How the students experienced learning pediatrics (adequacy of feedback; availability of teachers willing to teach at medical student level; availability of teachers who facilitate the development of skills; professional behaviors/attitudes/values of faculty noted that: helped students feel like contributing members of the health care team; indicated faculty cared about students; and described attributes of pediatricians students identified as role models.)
Conclusion: Preliminary qualitative analysis of student comments on the end-of-the-clerkship evaluation demonstrated the promise of this technique for understanding the learning environment experienced by the students. This analysis will address the LCME requirement and inform faculty efforts to improve or remediate the environment. Aspects of learner-centered learning and professionalism of the faculty, important components of the learning environment, were specifically noted. A further formal qualitative analysis is proposed using specially designed research software.