Background: Competency-based medical education increasingly recognizes the importance of observation, feedback, and reflection for trainee development. Although bedside rounds provide opportunities for authentic workplace-based implementation of feedback and team-based reflection strategies, this relationship has not been well described. The authors sought to understand the content and timing of feedback and team-based reflection provided by bedside teachers in the context of patient-centered bedside rounds.
Methods. The authors conducted a thematic analysis qualitative study using transcripts from audio-recorded, semi-structured telephone interviews with internal medicine attending physicians (n= 34) identified as respected bedside teachers from 10 academic US institutions (2010-2011).
Results: Half of the respondents (50%) were associate/full professors, with an average of 14 years of academic experience. In the context of bedside encounters, bedside teachers reported providing feedback on history-taking, physical-examination, and case-presentation skills, patient-centered communication, clinical decision-making, leadership, teaching skills, and professionalism. Positive feedback about physical-exam skills or clinical decision-making occurred during encounters, positive or constructive team-based feedback occurred immediately following encounters, and individualized constructive feedback occurred in one-on-one settings following rounding sessions. Compared to less frequent, emotionally-charged events, bedside teachers initiated team-based reflection on commonplace "teachable moments" related to patient characteristics or emotions, trainee actions and emotions, and attending physician role modeling.
Conclusions: Bedside teachers use bedside rounds as a workplace-based method to provide assessment, feedback, and reflection, which are aligned with the goals of competency-based medical education. Embedded in patient-centered activities, clinical teachers should be encouraged to incorporate these content- and timing-related feedback and reflection strategies into their bedside teaching.
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