Human Dimensions in Bedside Teaching: Focus Group Discussions of Teachers and Learners.
ABSTRACT Background: Clinical teaching has moved from the bedside to conference rooms; many reasons are described for this shift. Yet, essential clinical skills, professionalism, and humanistic patient interactions are best taught at the bedside. Purpose: Clinical teaching has moved from the bedside to conference rooms; many reasons are described for this decline. This study explored perceptions of teachers and learners on the value of bedside teaching and the humanistic dimensions of bedside interactions that make it imperative to shift clinical teaching back to the bedside. Method: Focus group methodology was used to explore teacher and learner opinions. Four teacher groups consisted of (a) Chief Residents, (b) Residency Program Directors, (c) skilled bedside teachers, and (d) a convenience group of other Department of Medicine faculty at Boston University School of Medicine. Six learner groups consisted 2 each of 3rd-year students, PGY1 medicine residents, and PGY2 medicine residents. Each discussion lasted 60 to 90 minutes. Sessions were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative methods. Results: Teachers and learners shared several opinions on bedside teaching, particularly around humanistic aspects of bedside interactions. The key themes that emerged included (a) patient involvement in discussions, (b) teachers as role models of humanism, (c) preserving learner autonomy, (d) direct observation and feedback of learners at the bedside, (e) interactions with challenging patients, and (e) admitting limitations. Within these themes, participants noted some behaviors best avoided at the bedside. Conclusions: Teachers and learners regard the bedside as a valuable venue in which to learn core values of medicine. They proposed many strategies to preserve these humanistic values and improve bedside teaching. These strategies are essential for true patient-centered care.
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ABSTRACT: Although effective role models are important in medical education, little is known about the characteristics of physicians who serve as excellent clinical role models. We therefore conducted a case-control study to identify attributes that distinguish such physicians from their colleagues. We asked members of the internal-medicine house staff at four teaching hospitals to name physicians whom they considered to be excellent role models. A total of 165 physicians named by one or more house-staff members were classified as excellent role models (these served as the case physicians in our study). A questionnaire was sent to them as well as to 246 physicians who had residency-level teaching responsibilities but who were not named (controls). Of these 411 physicians, 341 (83 percent) completed questionnaires while unaware of their case-control status. Of the 341 attending physicians who responded, 144 (42 percent) had been identified as excellent role models. Having greater assigned teaching responsibilities was strongly associated with being identified as an excellent role model. In the multivariate analysis, five attributes were independently associated with being named as an excellent role model: spending more than 25 percent of one's time teaching (odds ratio, 5.12; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.81 to 14.47), spending 25 or more hours per week teaching and conducting rounds when serving as an attending physician (odds ratio, 2.48; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.15 to 5.37), stressing the importance of the doctor-patient relationship in one's teaching (odds ratio, 2.58; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 6.43), teaching the psychosocial aspects of medicine (odds ratio, 2.31; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.23 to 4.35), and having served as a chief resident (odds ratio, 2.07; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.07 to 3.98). These data suggest that many of the attributes associated with being an excellent role model are related to skills that can be acquired and to modifiable behavior.New England Journal of Medicine 01/1999; 339(27):1986-93. · 54.42 Impact Factor