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Contributing to the hidden curriculum: exploring the role of residents and newly graduated physicians

Abstract

The hidden curriculum has been investigated as a powerful force on medical student learning and ongoing physician professional development. Previous studies have largely focused on medical students’ experiences as ‘receivers’ of the hidden curriculum. This study examined how residents and newly graduated physicians conceived of their roles as active participants in the hidden curriculum. An interpretative phenomenological study was employed using individual, semi-structured interviews with residents and newly graduated physicians (n = 5) to examine their roles in perpetuating the hidden curriculum. A thematic analysis was conducted using a reflexive approach. Findings include insight into how residents and newly graduated physicians: (a) navigate the hidden curriculum for their own professional development; (b) intervene in others’ enactment of the hidden curriculum; and (c) seek to repair the hidden curriculum for the next generation through their teaching. In light of our findings, we argue that: (a) more research is needed to understand how early career physicians navigate their engagement with the hidden curriculum; (b) students and educators be supported to consider how their agency to impact the hidden curriculum is influenced by the sociocultural context; and (c) residents and early career physicians are poised to powerfully impact the hidden curriculum through the learning environments they create.

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Acknowledgements

This project was supported through a University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine Postgraduate Medical Education grant. We would like to thank the participants in this study for their willingness to share their experiences with the project team.

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Correspondence to Kimberley A. MacNeil.

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MacNeil, K.A., Regehr, G. & Holmes, C.L. Contributing to the hidden curriculum: exploring the role of residents and newly graduated physicians. Adv in Health Sci Educ 27, 201–213 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459-021-10081-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459-021-10081-8

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