Resident-Teaching of Ethics in Undergraduate Medical Education: A Grounded Theory Analysis

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Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings


Background: In graduate medical education, teaching is a required subcompetency largely fulfilled via clinical teaching, journal clubs, and grand rounds. Evidence shows that when moving to undergraduate teaching, residents often face a steep learning curve. We aimed to assess residents’ perspective of the experience of teaching medical students.

Methods: Psychiatry residents taught small group sections of bioethics to first- and second-year medical students in December 2018. We conducted two 1-hour focus group interviews with four residents on their perspectives on the teaching experience.

Results: Resident-teachers described receiving certain benefits from teaching, such as meeting their altruistic desire to give back to the profession. Nonetheless, some participants felt frustrated by students’ varying engagement and respect, while also feeling insecure and intimidated. Resident-teachers experienced some of the medical students as disrespectful and limited in their appreciation for diversity and the profession of medicine and perceived the students’ disengagement and lessened professionalism.

Conclusion: As residency programs seek to implement initiatives to improve teaching skills of residents, resident experiences should be considered when implementing these initiatives.



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Medical education, psychiatry residency, qualitative research, resident-as-teacher