Opinions on characteristics of good clinical teachers in veterinary training
Rijcke, L.M. de
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BACKGROUND Which characteristics make a veterinary clinician a good clinical teacher? Characteristics of good clinical teachers have been studied in human medical education. This research led to seven domains that are important for a clinical teacher: role modelling, task allocation, planning, feedback, teaching methodology, assessment, and personal support and behaviours. Because no research has been done on this topic in veterinary medicine, it is still unclear which are the key characteristics of a good veterinary clinical teacher. More insight in the characteristics of good clinical teachers could be useful in personal development of clinical teachers. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study is first to investigate the students’ opinion, junior teachers’ opinion and the opinion of experienced teachers holding a Senior Teaching Qualification about characteristics of a good veterinary clinical teacher and second to define whether there are differences in the opinions on characteristics of good clinical teachers. METHODS Between September and November 2019, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven senior teachers, twelve junior teachers, and nine master students, working or studying in one of the three clinical departments of Veterinary Medicine on Utrecht University: the department of Clinical Science of Companion Animals, Department of Farm Animal Health, or the Department of Equine Sciences. Participants were asked which characteristics they considered to be important for good clinical teachers and if they could prioritize those characteristics. All interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using template analysis, until a final template was created. RESULTS Participants mentioned characteristics of good clinical teachers that could be categorised in five domains: personality traits, didactic skills, communication, planning and organisation, and veterinary expertise. To create a safe learning climate for students, traits like faith in students, enthusiasm, empathy, and approachability were often mentioned. Didactic insight, ‘giving students responsibility’, providing adequate feedback, challenging students, student involvement in the process of clinical reasoning, providing tools, and keeping discipline were considered to be important didactic skills in all three groups. Personality traits and didactic skills were mentioned by all thirty-two participants, while communication, planning and organisation, and veterinary expertise were mentioned by twenty-two or twenty-one of all thirty-two participants. No major differences in opinions on the characteristics of clinical teachers between groups of participants were found. CONCLUSIONS It could be concluded that, in veterinary training, personality traits, didactic skills, communication, planning and organisation, and veterinary expertise are key domains for good clinical teachers. No major differences were found between the opinions of students, junior teachers, and senior teachers.