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1.  Ambulatory teaching: Do approaches to learning predict the site and preceptor characteristics valued by clerks and residents in the ambulatory setting? 
Background
In a study to determine the site and preceptor characteristics most valued by clerks and residents in the ambulatory setting we wished to confirm whether these would support effective learning. The deep approach to learning is thought to be more effective for learning than surface approaches. In this study we determined how the approaches to learning of clerks and residents predicted the valued site and preceptor characteristics in the ambulatory setting.
Methods
Postal survey of all medical residents and clerks in training in Ontario determining the site and preceptor characteristics most valued in the ambulatory setting. Participants also completed the Workplace Learning questionnaire that includes 3 approaches to learning scales and 3 workplace climate scales. Multiple regression analysis was used to predict the preferred site and preceptor characteristics as the dependent variables by the average scores of the approaches to learning and perception of workplace climate scales as the independent variables.
Results
There were 1642 respondents, yielding a 47.3% response rate. Factor analysis revealed 7 preceptor characteristics and 6 site characteristics valued in the ambulatory setting. The Deep approach to learning scale predicted all of the learners' preferred preceptor characteristics (β = 0.076 to β = 0.234, p < .001). Valuing preceptor Direction was more strongly associated with the Surface Rational approach (β = .252, p < .001) and with the Surface Disorganized approach to learning (β = .154, p < 001) than with the Deep approach.
The Deep approach to learning scale predicted valued site characteristics of Office Management, Patient Logistics, Objectives and Preceptor Interaction (p < .001). The Surface Rational approach to learning predicted valuing Learning Resources and Clinic Set-up (β = .09, p = .001; β = .197, p < .001). The Surface Disorganized approach to learning weakly negatively predicted Patient Logistics (β = -.082, p = .003) and positively the Learning Resources (β = .088, p = .003).
Climate factors were not strongly predictive for any studied characteristics. Role Modeling and Patient Logistics were predicted by Supportive Receptive climate (β = .135, p < .001, β = .118, p < .001).
Conclusion
Most site and preceptor characteristics valued by clerks and residents were predicted by their Deep approach to learning scores. Some characteristics reflecting the need for good organization and clear direction are predicted by learners' scores on less effective approaches to learning.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-35
PMCID: PMC1266367  PMID: 16225666
2.  Medical Students' and Residents' preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours for learning in the ambulatory setting: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
Medical training is increasingly occurring in the ambulatory setting for final year medical students and residents. This study looks to identify if gender, school, level of training, or speciality affects learner's (final year medical students and residents) preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours for learning in the ambulatory setting.
Methods
All final year medical students and residents at the five medical schools in Ontario (N = 3471) were surveyed about the site characteristics and preceptor behaviours most enhancing their learning in the ambulatory setting. Preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours were rank ordered. Factor analysis grouped the site characteristics and preceptor behaviours into themes which were then correlated with gender, school, level of training, and speciality.
Results
Having an adequate number and variety of patients while being supervised by enthusiastic preceptors who give feedback and are willing to discuss their reasoning processes and delegate responsibility are site characteristics and preceptor behaviours valued by almost all learners. Some teaching strategies recently suggested to improve efficiency in the ambulatory teaching setting, such as structuring the interview for the student and teaching and reviewing the case in front of the patient, were found not to be valued by learners. There was a striking degree of similarity in what was valued by all learners but there were also some educationally significant differences, particularly between learners at different levels and in different specialities. Key findings between the different levels include preceptor interaction being most important for medical students as opposed to residents who most value issues pertaining to patient logistics. Learning resources are less valued early and late in training. Teaching and having the case reviewed in front of the patient becomes increasingly less valued as learners advance in their training. As one approaches the end of ones' training office management instruction becomes increasingly valued. Differences between specialities pertain most to the type of practice residents will ultimately end up in (ie: office based specialties particularly valuing instruction in office management and health care system interaction).
Conclusions
Preceptors need to be aware of, and make efforts to provide, teaching strategies such as feedback and discussing clinical reasoning, that learners have identified as being helpful for learning. If strategies identified as not being valued for learning, such as teaching in front of the patient, must continue it will be important to explore the barriers they present to learning. Although what all learners want from their preceptors and clinic settings to enhance their learning is remarkably similar, being aware of the educationally significant differences, particularly for learners at different levels and in different specialities, will enhance teaching in the ambulatory setting.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-12
PMCID: PMC514563  PMID: 15298710
3.  Critical appraisal skills of family physicians in Ontario, Canada 
Background
Our primary objective in this study was to measure family physicians' knowledge of the key elements that go into assessing the validity and interpreting the results in three different types of studies: i) a randomized controlled trial (RCT); ii) a study evaluating a diagnostic test; and iii) a systematic review (SR). Our secondary objectives were to determine the relationship between the above skills and age, gender, and type of practice.
Methods
We obtained a random sample of 1000 family physicians in Ontario from the College of Family Physicians of Canada database. These physicians were sent a questionnaire in the mail with follow-up mailings to non-responders at 3 and 8 weeks. The questionnaire was designed to measure knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts of critical appraisal skills. Based on the responses to the questions an Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Knowledge Score was determined for each physician.
Results
A response rate of 30.2% was achieved. The respondents were younger and more likely to be recent graduates than the population of Ontario Family Physicians as a whole. This was an expected outcome. Just over 50% of respondents were able to answer questions concerning the critical appraisal of methods and the interpretation of results of research articles satisfactorily. The average score on the 12-point EBM Knowledge Scale was 6.4. The younger physicians scored higher than the older physicians, and academic physicians scored higher than community-based physicians. Scores of male and female physicians did not differ.
Conclusions
We have shown that in a population of physicians which is younger than the general population of physicians, about 50% have reasonable knowledge regarding the critical appraisal of the methods and the interpretation of results of a research article. In general, younger physicians were more knowledgeable than were older physicians. EBM principles were felt to be important to the practice of medicine by 95% of respondents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-3-10
PMCID: PMC317336  PMID: 14651755

Results 1-3 (3)