Peer review: a tool to enhance clinical teaching

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SUMMARYBackground:The system used by academic health centres to evaluate teaching must be valued by the large number of faculty staff that teach in clinical settings. Peer review can be used to evaluate and enhance clinical teaching. The objective of this study was to determine the perceptions of clinical faculty about the effects of participating in peer review.Methods:Faculty members were observed teaching in a clinical setting by trained peer observers. Feedback was provided using a checklist of behaviours and descriptive comments. Afterwards, semi-structured interviews were conducted to assess the faculty member's perception about the process. Notes from the interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach. The study was approved by the institutional review boards of all the institutions involved.Results:Three themes emerged from the interviews with faculty members: (1) they found the process to be valuable – they received information that affirmed “good” teaching behaviours, and were prompted to be more focused on their teaching; (2) they were motivated to enhance their teaching by being more deliberate, interactive and learner-centred; and (3) they were inspired to explore other opportunities to improve their teaching skills.Discussion:Peer review is a process that promotes the open discussion and exchange of ideas. This conversation advances clinical teaching skills and allows high-quality teaching behaviours to be strengthened.

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