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Open Access Research article

The resident-as-teacher educational challenge: a needs assessment survey at the National Autonomous University of Mexico Faculty of Medicine

Melchor Sánchez-Mendiola1*, Enrique L Graue-Wiechers2, Leobardo C Ruiz-Pérez3, Rocío García-Durán1 and Irene Durante-Montiel4

Author Affiliations

1 Secretaría de Educación Médica, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ave. Universidad 3000, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F., 04510 México

2 Dirección, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México

3 División de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México

4 Secretaría del Consejo Técnico, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:17  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-17

Published: 16 February 2010

Abstract

Background

The role of residents as educators is increasingly recognized, since it impacts residents, interns, medical students and other healthcare professionals. A widespread implementation of resident-as-teacher courses in developed countries' medical schools has occurred, with variable results. There is a dearth of information about this theme in developing countries. The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Faculty of Medicine has more than 50% of the residency programs' physician population in Mexico. This report describes a needs assessment survey for a resident as teacher program at our institution.

Methods

A cross-sectional descriptive survey was developed based on a review of the available literature and discussion by an expert multidisciplinary committee. The goal was to identify the residents' attitudes, academic needs and preferred educational strategies regarding resident-as-teacher activities throughout the residency. The survey was piloted and modified accordingly. The paper anonymous survey was sent to 7,685 residents, the total population of medical residents in UNAM programs in the country.

Results

There was a 65.7% return rate (5,186 questionnaires), a broad and representative sample of the student population. The residents felt they had knowledge and were competent in medical education, but the majority felt a need to improve their knowledge and skills in this discipline. Most residents (92.5%) felt that their role as educators of medical students, interns and other residents was important/very important. They estimated that 45.5% of their learning came from other residents. Ninety percent stated that it was necessary to be trained in teaching skills. The themes identified to include in the educational intervention were mostly clinically oriented. The educational strategies in order of preference were interactive lectures with a professor, small groups with a moderator, material available in a website for self-learning, printed material for self-study and homework, and small group web-based learning.

Conclusions

There is a large unmet need to implement educational interventions to improve residents' educational skills in postgraduate educational programs in developing countries. Most perceived needs of residents are practical and clinically oriented, and they prefer traditional educational strategies. Resident as teachers educational interventions need to be designed taking into account local needs and resources.