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A new perspective on faculty development


How do clinicians become teachers?  A communities of practice perspective.  Cantillon et al. Advacnces in Health Science Education 2016; March 9.  [Epub ahead of print]

Reviewed by Lynne Smith

What was the study question?

Though there is general agreement that clinicians require training to be effective educators, current strategies to implement faculty development often prove ineffective.  In order to optimize faculty development and implementation strategies, this study sought to explore how clinicians become teachers in relation to clinical communities (peers) and the institutions in which they work.

How was the study done?

Fourteen hospital-based physicians in a teaching hospital underwent semi-structured qualitative interviews designed to explore their development as teachers.  Researchers used maximum variability sampling to ensure proportional representation of males and females as well as junior vs. well established clinicians.  Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed.  All interviews were then analyzed based on the created coding template and assessed with respect to the participants’ developmental experiences as educators and as well as the workplace contexts in which they educate. 

What were the results?

In order to gain recognition and identity as a teacher, physicians base their education practices in part by what they observed among their colleagues.   Further, physicians adapted their identity as teachers based on the culture of the institution in which they practice. 

What are the implications?

Becoming an effective clinician educator is significantly influenced by institutional values regarding education.  Faculty development will be most effective if the culture of the institution values excellence in education.  Further, junior doctors have a less hierarchical establishment relative to their more senior colleagues and may be more open to experiment with new teacher practices/faculty development.

Editor’s note:  This article offers some important insights particularly that the culture of an institution influences the effectiveness of faculty development (SLB).

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