The mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX) is widely used for the evaluation of medical trainees' clinical competence. To our knowledge, no study has examined the effect of mini-CEX on the preceptors. Based on the principle of “to teach is to learn twice,” we hypothesized that the act of precepting a mini-CEX would enhance preceptors' own learning and performance.
A 21-item questionnaire incorporating the 3 out of 4 levels of Kirkpatrick's model was completed by experienced mini-CEX preceptors. Data collected from the questionnaire included ratings of Kirkpatrick's level of “Reaction” (level 1) and “Behavior” (level 3) and the frequencies of relearning the clinical skills related to mini-CEX, which assessed Kirkpatrick's “Learning” (level 2).
A majority of the respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that precepting the mini-CEX both increased reflection on their own clinical practice and had a positive impact on their clinical skills. More than 80% of preceptors reported relearning one or more of the mini-CEX clinical skills. Experienced preceptors relearned the clinical skills more frequently than the less experienced preceptors. About one-third of respondents indicated that being a preceptor of mini-CEX increased both self-confidence and health care quality in their own clinical practice.
These findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting that participating as a preceptor in a mini-CEX has a positive impact on the preceptor's professional development. Further studies are needed, including analyzing mechanisms of mini-CEX on the clinical skills of preceptor, and assessing whether similar effects can be observed in other teaching hospitals in different cultural contexts.