Background: Residents learn by working in a multidisciplinary context, in different locations, with many clinical teachers. Although clinical teachers are collectively responsible for residency training, little is known about the way teaching teams function.
Aim: We conducted a qualitative study to explore clinical teachers' views on how teaching teams deliver residency training.
Method: Data were collected during six focus group interviews in 2010.
Results: The analysis revealed seven teamwork themes: (1) clinical teachers were more passionate about clinical expertise than about knowledge of teaching and teamwork; (2) residents needed to be informed about clinical teachers' shared expectations; (3) the role of the programme director in the teaching team needed further clarification; (4) the main topics of discussion in teaching teams were resident performance and the division of teaching tasks; (5) the structural elements of the organisation of residency training were clear; (6) clinical teachers had difficulty giving and receiving feedback and (7) clinical teachers felt under pressure to be accountable for team performance to external parties.
Conclusion: The clinical teachers did not consider teamwork to be of any great significance to residency training. Teachers' views of professionalism and their own experiences as residents may explain their non-teamwork directed attitude. Efforts to strengthen teamwork within teaching teams may impact positively on the quality of residency training.