A Good Clinician and a Caring Person: Longitudinal Faculty Development and the Enhancement of the Human Dimensions of Care

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Abstract

Purpose

To successfully design and implement longitudinal faculty development programs at five medical schools, and to determine whether faculty participants were perceived to be more effective humanistic teachers.

Method

Promising teachers were chosen from volunteers to participate in groups at each of the medical schools. Between September 2004 and September 2006, the facilitators jointly designed and implemented a curriculum for enhancing humanistic teaching using previously defined learning goals that combined experiential learning of skills with reflective exploration of values. Twenty-nine participants who completed 18 months of faculty development at the five medical schools were compared with 47 controls drawn from the same schools in the final six months of the two-year project. For comparison, the authors developed a 10-item questionnaire, the Humanistic Teaching Practices Effectiveness Questionnaire (HTPE), to be filled out by medical students and residents taught by participants or control faculty. Items were designed to measure previously identified themes and domains of humanism. Control faculty were similar to participants by gender, specialty, and years of experience.

Results

Thirty-four (75%) of the original 45 enrollees completed the programs at the five schools. Faculty participants outperformed their peer controls on all 10 items of the HTPE questionnaire. Results were statistically significant (P < .05) and sufficiently robust (8%–13% differences) to suggest practical importance.

Conclusions

A longitudinal faculty development process that combines experiential learning of skills and reflective exploration of values in the setting of a supportive group process was successfully accomplished and had a positive impact on participants’ humanistic teaching.

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