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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 78-84

A student-led process to enhance the learning and teaching of teamwork skills in medicine

1 Senior Lecturer and Director, Medical Education Development, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2 Sessional Academic, Medicine Education and Student Office, UNSW Medicine, Sydney, Australia
3 Scenario group Facilitator, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine, Sydney, Australia
4 Medical Officer, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
5 Medical Student, UNSW Medicine, Sydney, Australia
6 Medical Officer, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia
7 Medical Officer, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Chinthaka Balasooriya
Director, Medical Education Development, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052
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Source of Support: This project was funded by an internal University of New South Wales ‘Strategic Learning and Teaching Development Fund’ grant, administered through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.120698

Context: The development of teamwork skills is a critical aspect of modern medical education. This paper reports on a project that aimed to identify student perceptions of teamwork-focused learning activities and generate student recommendations for the development of effective educational strategies. Methods: The project utilized a unique method, which drew on the skills of student research assistants (RAs) to explore the views of their peers. Using structured interview guides, the RAs interviewed their colleagues to clarify their perceptions of the effectiveness of current methods of teamwork teaching and to explore ideas for more effective methods. The RAs shared their deidentified findings with each other, identified preliminary themes, and developed a number of recommendations which were finalized through consultation with faculty. Results: The key themes that emerged focused on the need to clarify the relevance of teamwork skills to clinical practice, reward individual contributions to group process, facilitate feedback and reflection on teamwork skills, and systematically utilize clinical experiences to support experiential learning of teamwork. Based on these findings, a number of recommendations for stage appropriate teamwork learning and assessment activities were developed. Key among these were recommendations to set up a peer-mentoring system for students, suggestions for more authentic teamwork assessment methods, and strategies to utilize the clinical learning environment in developing teamwork skills. Discussion: The student-led research process enabled identification of issues that may not have been otherwise revealed by students, facilitated a better understanding of teamwork teaching and developed ownership of the curriculum among students. The project enabled the development of recommendations for designing learning, teaching, and assessment methods that were likely to be more effective from a student perspective.

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