Learning to live with being a physician

  • Cave M
  • Clandinin D
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This paper draws on the results of an eight-month research project designed to foster reflection and professional growth in an intergenerational group of medical students, residents, and newly practicing physicians. Over a period of several months, participants individually read books written by physician authors of their experiences in clinical practice. After each book reading, the group met and engaged in a tape-recorded and researcher-facilitated discussions about the book. Reading followed by discussion was chosen as a process to promote increased self-reflection amongst the participants. Participants reflected on the readings and on their own experiences of moving through professional education in the process of becoming physicians. There were eight meetings. A thematic analysis of the eight transcripts of group meetings identified twelve overarching themes. Nine are discussed in this paper. The three additional themes address the participants’ experiences of the process and are described elsewhere. The nine themes range from the ‘image of super doc’ to ‘learning from patients’. Several themes contained sub-themes. The themes resonate with other findings in medical education about the experience of becoming physicians. The themes are discussed in relation to other research on designing spaces for reflective growth in medical education. Insights into the benefits of an intergenerational group experience are discussed.

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  • Marie T Cave

  • D Jean Clandinin

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