Objectives: To determine the key themes for teaching hospital consultants how to teach.
Design: 1. In-depth interviews with a total of 19 experts, consultants and junior doctors to identify key topics. 2. Literature review from 1969 to obtain the main themes from the medical educational literature. 3. Analysis of the main themes in 11 'Teaching the teachers' courses. 4. Triangulation of interview data, literature themes and teaching courses content to generate 15 criteria for a questionnaire. 5. Questionnaire study to 593 senior and junior hospital doctors.
Setting: Hospitals in the West Midlands Region in England.
Subjects: Consultants and junior hospital doctors.
Results: Overall, 441 doctors replied (74% response rate). The top five themes were giving feedback constructively, keeping up to date as a teacher, building a good educational climate, assessing the trainee and assessing the trainee's learning needs. Results showed no statistically significant differences in the order of themes for all groups analysed, including seniority, gender, specialty, origin by medical school and consultants of different ages.
Conclusions: Consultants need teaching in these topics. There are implications for funding and providing these courses for postgraduate deans, Royal Colleges and universities. Further research is needed to evaluate whether such an initiative does produce better teaching and learning, and a better educational climate in hospitals.