Purpose: Positive role modeling by clinical trainers is important for helping trainees learn professional and competent behavior. The authors developed and validated an instrument to assess clinical trainers as role models: the Role Model Apperception Tool (RoMAT).
Method: On the basis of a 2011 systematic review of the literature and through consultation with medical education experts and with clinical trainers and trainees, the authors developed 17 attributes characterizing a role model, to be assessed using a Likert scale. In 2012, general practice (GP) trainees, in their first or third year of postgraduate training, who attended a curriculum day at four institutes in different parts of the Netherlands, completed the RoMAT. The authors performed a principal component analysis on the data that were generated, and they tested the instrument’s validity and reliability.
Results: Of 328 potential GP trainees, 279 (85%) participated. Of these, 202 (72%) were female, and 154 (55%) were first-year trainees. The RoMAT demonstrated both content and convergent validity. Two components were extracted: “Caring Attitude” and “Effectiveness.” Both components had high reliability scores (0.92 and 0.84, respectively). Less experienced trainees scored their trainers significantly higher on the Caring Attitude component.
Conclusions: The RoMAT proved to be a valid, reliable instrument for assessing clinical trainers’ role-modeling behavior. Both components include an equal number of items addressing personal (Heart), teaching (Head), and clinical (Hands-on) qualities, thus demonstrating that competence in the “3Hs” is a condition for positive role modeling. Educational managers (residency directors) and trainees alike can use the RoMAT.