Effective Learning in an Ambulatory Family Medicine Clerkship: A Qualitative Study of Medical Student Midpoint Feedback.

Fam Med 2017 Sep;49(8):630-634

Virginia Commonwealth University.

Background And Objectives: There is substantial research on the effectiveness of ambulatory medical preceptors' teaching skills, but less is known about the student perspective on what contributes most to effective learning in a busy clinical practice.

Methods: As part of a formative midpoint assessment during the third-year clerkship in family medicine, students were asked to respond to the following open-ended reflective prompt: "My preceptor contributed to my learning by..." A qualitative assessment of student responses was conducted to identify themes describing effective learning in the ambulatory setting. Responses for all clerkship students from the years 2012-2014 were examined (N=314).

Results: The most common characteristic of effective learning identified by respondents was Autonomy in Practice. Other prominent themes included Stimulating Critical Thinking and Feedback.

Conclusions: Understanding student perceptions of the critical components of learning in ambulatory settings will allow medical educators to design meaningful student learning experiences and coach community teachers on effective teaching practices.

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September 2017
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