Objectives: The aim of this study was to help hospital consultants identify their needs in relation to teaching skills, leading to the development of a teacher training programme.
Design: The study was directed at all 869 consultants in the region and initially involved a postal questionnaire which had a 60.5% response rate.
Setting: Hospitals throughout Northern Ireland.
Subjects: Hospital consultants.
Results: Results from this questionnaire indicated that while the majority of respondents were interested teachers, only 34% had received any teacher training. The questionnaire was followed by a focus group study involving three groups of consultants drawn randomly from those who had responded to the questionnaire. Participants in these groups identified the following key areas of hospital education: qualities of hospital teachers; selection procedures; problems of teaching in hospitals; the need for teacher training and how it should be provided.
Conclusion: The study highlighted that hospital teachers need to acquire and update their teaching skills through attending courses that should include basic teaching and assessment/appraisal skills. These courses should last 1 or 2 days and be provided at a regional or subregional level. As a result of this study, teacher training courses have been developed in this region.