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Open Access Research article

Competence, commitment and opportunity: an exploration of faculty views and perceptions on community- based education

Zahra Ladhani1*, Fred J Stevens2 and Albert J Scherpbier3

Author Affiliations

1 Shifa College of Nursing, Islamabad, Pakistan

2 Department of Educational Development & Research, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

3 Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:167  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-167

Published: 13 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Community-Based Education (CBE) is an instructional approach designed and carried out in a community context and environment in which not only students, but also faculty and Health Professionals’ Education (HPE) institutions must be actively engaged throughout the educational experience. Despite the growing evidence of CBE being an effective approach for contemporary HPE, doubts about its successful implementation still exist. This study has explored HPE structure, policies and curriculum from the point of view of faculty members to gain understanding about the prevailing practices and to propose recommendations that nurtures and promotes CBE.

Method

A purposive sample was drawn from three major cities of Pakistan- Karachi, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Out of twelve HPE institutions present in these cities we selected six, which provided a sound representation of medical and nursing colleges around the country. At each institution we had two Focus Group Discussions; in addition we interviewed registrars of medical and nursing councils and two CBE experts.

Results

The factors effecting implementation of CBE as perceived by study participants are categorized as: preparation of faculty members; institutional commitment and enthusiasm; curricular priorities and external milieu. Within each theme, participants recurrently described structural and curricular deficiencies, and lack of commitment and appreciation for community based teaching, service and research permeating at all levels: regulatory bodies, institutional heads and faculty members.

Conclusions

The factors highlighted by our study and many others suggest that CBE could not perpetuate effectively within HPE. To enhance the effectiveness of CBE approach in a way that mutually benefits local communities as well as HPE institutions and health professionals, it is important that reforms in HPE must be strategized in a holistic fashion i.e. restructuring and aligning its polices, curriculum and research priorities.