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- Cite this article as:
- Laidley, T.L., Braddock, C.H. & Fihn, S.D. J GEN INTERN MED (2000) 15: 46. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.11318.x
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Accurately recognizing the learning goals of trainees should enhance teachers’ effectiveness. We sought to determine how commonly such recognition occurs and whether it improves residents’ satisfaction with the teaching interaction. In a cross-sectional survey of 97 internal medicine residents and 42 ambulatory clinic preceptors in five ambulatory care clinics in Washington and Oregon, we systematically sampled 236 dyadic teaching interactions. Each dyad participant independently indicated the residents’ perceived learning needs from a standardized list. Overall, the preceptors’ recognition of the residents’ learning needs, as measured by percentage of agreement between preceptors and residents on the learning topics, was modest (k 0.21, p=.02). The percentage of agreement for all topics was 43%, ranging from 8% to 66%. Greater time pressures were associated with lower agreement (38% vs 56% for the highest and lowest strata of resident-reported time pressure; 15% vs 43% for highest and lowest strata of preceptor-reported time pressure). Agreement increased as the number of sessions the pair had worked together increased (62% for pairs with >20 vs 17% for pairs with 0 previous sessions). Satisfaction with teaching encounters was high (4.5 on a 5-point scale) and unrelated to the degree of agreement (p=.92). These findings suggest that faculty development programs should emphasize precepting skills in recognizing residents’ preceived learning needs and that resident clinics should be redesigned to maximize preceptor-resident continuity and minimize time pressure.