Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2010 - Volume 85 - Issue 9 > Medical Students Need Educators From a Variety of Background...
Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181eaa560
Letters to the Editor

Medical Students Need Educators From a Variety of Backgrounds

Pilkington, Andrea MB, ChB; Hart, Jo PhD; Bundy, Christine PhD

Free Access
Article Outline
Collapse Box

Author Information

Academic clinical fellow in medical education, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; andreapilkington2@gmail.com. (Pilkington)

Director of 2011 programme delivery and development, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. (Hart)

Senior lecturer in psychology applied to medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. (Bundy)

To the Editor: We strongly urge all medical schools to employ a variety of medical educators, not just physicians. In the United Kingdom, there has been a move to have members of other health professions contribute to medical education. We note that Riesenberg and colleagues,1 in their excellent and thought-provoking article, refer to this group, as well as those who possess qualifications in education, as nonphysician medical educators. However, we prefer to think of these educators as an eclectic mix of people who have different skills and conceptual models to offer. Grouping individuals into positives (physicians) and negatives (nonphysicians) is rather unhelpful and oversimplified.

We also agree with Shea's2 comment that rather than thinking about educators of many disciplines as “filling roles that do not require a physician's expertise,” such educators can fill roles for which physicians do not have the necessary expertise. For although physicians can be excellent role models for aspiring young doctors, the majority have no background or qualifications in teaching. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that they will always provide the best-quality teaching or guidance to medical students.

Bylund and colleagues3 demonstrated that facilitators from different backgrounds added a variety of different strengths to learning. To us, this finding provides more evidence that members of other health professions, even those without teaching backgrounds, can provide a wealth of experience and knowledge—for example, on research methods, communication skills, and learning theory—that would benefit medical students at every stage of their training.

Andrea Pilkington, MB, ChB

Academic clinical fellow in medical education, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; andreapilkington2@gmail.com.

Jo Hart, PhD

Director of 2011 programme delivery and development, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Christine Bundy, PhD

Senior lecturer in psychology applied to medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Back to Top | Article Outline

References

1Riesenberg LA, Little BW, Wright V. Nonphysician medical educators: A literature review and job description resource. Acad Med. 2009;84:1078–1088.

2Shea J. Commentary: The work of nonphysician medical educators: Why we need historical context, conceptual models, training details, and evidence. Acad Med. 2009;84:982–984.

3Bylund C, Brown R, Lubrano di Ciccone B, et al. Assessing facilitator competence in a comprehensive communication skills training programme. Med Educ. 2009;43:342–349.

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges

Login

Article Tools

Share