Background: Despite limited preparation and knowledge base, surgical interns have important teaching responsibilities. Nevertheless, few faculty development programs are aimed at interns.
Methods: Succinct teaching skill content was electronically distributed over time (spaced education) to interns in academic year 2010/2011. The interns in the previous year served as historic controls. Electronic surveys were distributed for program evaluation.
Results: Fifteen of 24 (62.5%) interns and 35 of 49 (71.4%) students responded to the surveys in academic year 2009/2010 and 16 of 27 (59.3%) interns and 38 of 52 (73%) students responded in academic year 2010/2011. Surveys showed improved attitudes toward teaching by interns as well as a higher estimation of interns' teaching skills as rated by students for those interns who received the spaced education program.
Conclusions: Using spaced education to improve interns' teaching skills is a potentially powerful intervention that improves interns' enthusiasm for teaching and teaching effectiveness. The changes are mirrored in students' ratings of interns' teaching skills and interns' attitudes toward teaching.
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