A Virtual Book Club for Professional Development in Emergency Medicine

West J Emerg Med. 2020 Dec 14;22(1):108-114. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2020.11.49066.


Introduction: Professional development is an important component of graduate medical education, but it is unclear how to best deliver this instruction. Book clubs have been used outside of medicine as a professional development tool. We sought to create and evaluate a virtual professional development book club for emergency medicine interns.

Methods: We designed and implemented a virtual professional development book club during intern orientation. Afterward, participants completed an evaluative survey consisting of Likert and free-response items. Descriptive statistics were reported. We analyzed free-response data using a thematic approach.

Results: Of 15 interns who participated in the book club, 12 (80%) completed the evaluative survey. Most (10/12; 83.3%) agreed or strongly agreed that the book club showed them the importance of professional development as a component of residency training and helped them reflect on their own professional (11/12; 91.7%) and personal development (11/12; 91.7%). Participants felt the book club contributed to bonding with their peers (9/12; 75%) and engagement with the residency program (9/12; 75%). Our qualitative analysis revealed five major themes regarding how the book club contributed to professional and personal development: alignment with developmental stage; deliberate practice; self-reflection; strategies to address challenges; and communication skills.

Conclusion: A virtual book club was feasible to implement. Participants identified multiple ways the book club positively contributed to their professional development. These results may inform the development of other book clubs in graduate medical education.