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Open Access Research article

Educational climate seems unrelated to leadership skills of clinical consultants responsible of postgraduate medical education in clinical departments

Bente Malling1*, Lene S Mortensen2, Albert JJ Scherpbier3 and Charlotte Ringsted4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Human Resources, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Regional Hospital, Viborg, Denmark

3 Institute for Education, Faculty Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Netherlands

4 Centre for Clinical Education, Copenhagen University and Capital Region, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:62  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-62

Published: 21 September 2010

Abstract

Background

The educational climate is crucial in postgraduate medical education. Although leaders are in the position to influence the educational climate, the relationship between leadership skills and educational climate is unknown. This study investigates the relationship between the educational climate in clinical departments and the leadership skills of clinical consultants responsible for education.

Methods

The study was a trans-sectional correlation study. The educational climate was investigated by a survey among all doctors (specialists and trainees) in the departments. Leadership skills of the consultants responsible for education were measured by multi-source feedback scores from heads of departments, peer consultants, and trainees.

Results

Doctors from 42 clinical departments representing 21 specialties participated. The response rate of the educational climate investigation was moderate 52% (420/811), Response rate was high in the multisource-feedback process 84.3% (420/498). The educational climate was scored quite high mean 3.9 (SD 0.3) on a five-point Likert scale. Likewise the leadership skills of the clinical consultants responsible for education were considered good, mean 5.4 (SD 0.6) on a seven-point Likert scale. There was no significant correlation between the scores concerning the educational climate and the scores on leadership skills, r = 0.17 (p = 0.29).

Conclusions

This study found no relation between the educational climate and the leadership skills of the clinical consultants responsible for postgraduate medical education in clinical departments with the instruments used. Our results indicate that consultants responsible for education are in a weak position to influence the educational climate in the clinical department. Further studies are needed to explore, how heads of departments and other factors related to the clinical organisation could influence the educational climate.