Medical students often see residents as the most important teachers on the wards. However, there is a relative lack of data on the qualities that medical students value in their resident teachers. We conducted a qualitative study to determine the teaching behaviors that medical students value in their resident teachers.Over a 1-year period, 28 medical students completed 115 open-ended written reflections about their educational experiences with residents at a single, university-affiliated, community-based family medicine residency program in San Jose, CA. Qualitative data were analyzed using the constant comparative method associated with grounded theory. Ten recurring themes were identified after triangulation with published literature.When given the opportunity to make open-ended written reflections about the teaching abilities of their resident teachers, medical students most often commented on topics relevant to a "safe learning environment." More than one in four reflections were associated with this theme, and all were characterized as positive, suggesting that the ability to set a safe learning environment is a quality that medical students value in their resident teachers. In contrast, the least frequently occurring theme was "knowledge," suggesting that residents' fund of knowledge may not be as important as other qualities in the eyes of medical students.Our study adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that, from the medical students' perspective, a resident's fund of medical knowledge may not be as important as his/her ability to establish a supportive, safe, and nonthreatening environment to learn and practice medicine.
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View details for PubMedID 27159098