Medical education and informal teaching by nurses and midwives

Jean Gilmour1, Annette Huntington1, Fiona Bogossian2, Bernadette Leadbitter1 and Catherine Turner2

1School of Nursing, Massey University, New Zealand

2School of Nursing & Midwifery, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

Submitted: 16/04/2014; Accepted: 21/08/2014; Published: 31/08/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:173-177; doi: 10.5116/ijme.53f5.ee77

© 2014 Jean Gilmour et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of nurses and midwives to the education of medical colleagues in the clinical context.

Methods: The research design was a cross-sectional survey using an online questionnaire. A subsample of 2906 respondents, from a total of 4763 nurses and midwives participating in a web-based study, had taught doctors in the 12 months prior to the survey. The questionnaire generated mainly categorical data analysed with descriptive statistics.

Results: In the group of respondents who taught doctors (n =2906), most provided informal teaching (92.9%, n=2677). Nearly a quarter (23.9%, n=695) self-rated the amount of time spent teaching as at least moderate in duration. The most common named teaching topics were documentation (74.8%, n=2005) and implementing unit procedures (74.3, n=1987), followed by medication charting (61.9%, n=1657) and choosing correct medications (55.8%, n=1493). Respondents felt their contributions were unrecognised by the doctors and students they taught (43.9%, n=1256).

Conclusions: Educational contributions while unrecog-nised could be considered positively by the respondents. However, discussion of teaching responsibilities is necessary to support the development of teaching protocols and supervision responsibilities as respondents reported teaching clinical medical tasks related to medications, consent and other skills within the medical domain. Study limitations include the nature of self-reported responses which cannot be validated and data drawn from a survey concluded in 2009.