Addressing the hidden curriculum in the clinical workplace: A practical tool for trainees and faculty

Med Teach. 2019 Jan;41(1):36-43. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1436760. Epub 2018 Feb 28.


Introduction: The hidden curriculum, commonly described in negative terms, is considered highly influential in medical education, especially in the clinical workplace. Structured approaches to address it are limited in number and scope.

Methods and results: This paper presents a practical, value-neutral method called REVIEW (Reflecting & Evaluating Values Implicit in Education in the Workplace), to facilitate reflection and discussion on the hidden curriculum by faculty members and trainees. REVIEW approaches the hidden curriculum as a reflection of the professional microculture of a clinical team. This microculture results from collective problem solving and mutual negotiation when facing different, often conflicting, demands and interests, and their underlying values in daily clinical practice. Using this nonjudgmental conceptual framework, REVIEW employs a series of 50 culture statements that must be prioritized using Q-sort methodology, reflecting how the culture in a particular clinical context (e.g. ward or department) is perceived by faculty members and trainees. This procedure can be done individually or in groups. Most important is the resulting team discussion after the exercise - a discussion about perceptions of actual team culture and the culture desired by the team.

Discussion and conclusions: Our early experiences suggest that REVIEW can be a useful tool for addressing the hidden curriculum.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Education, Medical / methods
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Faculty, Medical / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Medical
  • Workplace / standards*