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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 539

Remote and rural: Do mentors enhance the value of distance learning continuing medical education?

1 Patan Hospital, Lagankhel, Kathmandu, Nepal
2 National Academy of Medical Sciences, Bir Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal
3 Nick Simons Institute, Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur, Nepal

Correspondence Address:
K Butterworth
Patan Hospital, Lagankhel, Kathmandu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 22267349

Context: Experts suggest that distance learning continuing medical education (CME) is only effective when there is the opportunity for two-way discussion and reflection. The value of on-line mentoring has been mainly studied in the West. Objectives: We examined the benefits and practical implications of providing mentors for distance learning CME in a low technology setting. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial with qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impact of mentoring on completion of CME and quality of reflective learning. Results: Twenty-six of 64 doctors completed all four CME modules. Non-completers were interviewed by telephone. Odds ratio analysis suggested that mentored doctors were three times more likely to complete their CME; however, this did not reach statistical significance (p=0.07, 95% CI 0.89-10.57). Being in rural practice (p=0.05) and younger in age (p=0.005) were significantly associated with completion of CME. Mentored doctors seemed to show a higher quality of reflection on learning. Contact between mentors and mentees was difficult. Both mentors and mentees felt that optimal use of the system was not made. Discussion: Despite mentors' perceptions that they had little impact, mentored doctors did appear to be more likely to complete CME. Work is needed to increase the quality of interpersonal and educational interaction between mentors and mentees.

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