Share this publication:
Background: Peer-assisted learning (PAL) has become a well-accepted teaching method within medical education. However, descriptions of on-ward PAL programs are rare. A focus group analysis of a newly established PAL program on an internal medicine ward was conducted to provide insights into PAL teaching from a student perspective.
Purpose: To provide insights into students’ experiences regarding their on-ward training with and without accompanying PAL tutors.
Methods: A total of N=168 medical students in their sixth semester participated in the investigation (intervention group: N=88; control group: N=80). The intervention group took part in the PAL program, while the control group received standard on-ward training. There were seven focus groups with N=43 participants (intervention group: four focus groups, N=28 participants; control group: three focus groups, N=15 participants). The discussions were analyzed using content analysis.
Results: The intervention group emphasized the role of the tutors as competent and well-trained teachers, most beneficial in supervising clinical skills. Tutors motivate students, help them to integrate into the ward team, and provide a non-fear-based working relationship whereby students’ anxiety regarding working on ward decreases. The control group had to rely on autodidactic learning strategies when neither supervising physicians nor final-year students were available.
Conclusion: On-ward PAL programs represent a particularly valuable tool for students’ support in training clinical competencies on ward. The tutor–student working alliance acts through its flat hierarchy. Nevertheless, tutors cannot represent an adequate substitute for experienced physicians.
About the publisher:
We are a publishing house devoted to reuse CC-BY licensed published materials.
Using CC-BY licenses:
YOU ARE FREE TO:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
- for any purpose, even commercially.
- The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
UNDER THE FOLLOWING TERMS:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others
from doing anything the license permits.
- You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
- No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.