What makes a good clinical student and teacher? An exploratory study

Goldie, J., Dowie, A. , Goldie, A., Cotton, P. and Morrison, J. (2015) What makes a good clinical student and teacher? An exploratory study. BMC Medical Education, 15, 40. (doi: 10.1186/s12909-015-0314-5) (PMID:25779409) (PMCID:PMC4358722)


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<b>Background</b> What makes a good clinical student is an area that has received little coverage in the literature and much of the available literature is based on essays and surveys. It is particularly relevant as recent curricular innovations have resulted in greater student autonomy. We also wished to look in depth at what makes a good clinical teacher. <p></p> <b>Methods</b> A qualitative approach using individual interviews with educational supervisors and focus groups with senior clinical students was used. Data was analysed using a “framework” technique. <p></p> <b>Results</b> Good clinical students were viewed as enthusiastic and motivated. They were considered to be proactive and were noted to be visible in the wards. They are confident, knowledgeable, able to prioritise information, flexible and competent in basic clinical skills by the time of graduation. They are fluent in medical terminology while retaining the ability to communicate effectively and are genuine when interacting with patients. They do not let exam pressure interfere with their performance during their attachments. <p></p> Good clinical teachers are effective role models. The importance of teachers’ non-cognitive characteristics such as inter-personal skills and relationship building was particularly emphasised. To be effective, teachers need to take into account individual differences among students, and the communicative nature of the learning process through which students learn and develop. Good teachers were noted to promote student participation in ward communities of practice. Other members of clinical communities of practice can be effective teachers, mentors and role models. <p></p> <b>Conclusions</b> Good clinical students are proactive in their learning; an important quality where students are expected to be active in managing their own learning. Good clinical students share similar characteristics with good clinical teachers. A teacher’s enthusiasm and non-cognitive abilities are as important as their cognitive abilities. Student learning in clinical settings is a collective responsibility. Our findings could be used in tutor training and for formative assessment of both clinical students and teachers. This may promote early recognition and intervention when problems arise.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dowie, Professor Al and Morrison, Professor Jill and Cotton, Prof Phil and Goldie, Dr John
Authors: Goldie, J., Dowie, A., Goldie, A., Cotton, P., and Morrison, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:BMC Medical Education
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1472-6920
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Medical Education 15:40
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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