Family Medicine Supervisors' Preferences for Improving Their Teaching Skills in Senior Care

Fam Med. 2021 Apr;53(4):267-274. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2021.171325.


Background and objectives: Many clinical supervisors in family medicine feel ill-equipped to teach senior care to their family medicine residents (trainees). We therefore sought to explore their preferred learning strategies for improving their clinical and teaching skills with regard to senior care.

Methods: In this qualitative study, we conducted focus groups and interviews with supervisors from four family medicine clinics, to explore their preferred educational strategies. We selected four clinics using a maximum-variation strategy, based on a survey assessing continuing professional development (CPD) needs. The qualitative thematic analysis followed an inductive/deductive approach based on McGuire's attributes of persuasive communication.

Results: The four focus groups and nine interviews with 53 supervisors (37 physicians, 9 nurses, 4 psychologists, 1 social worker, 1 nutritionist, 1 sexologist) revealed that supervisors preferred being trained by experienced trainers specialized in senior care, from various professional backgrounds, and knowledgeable about local community resources. They valued practical training the most, such as clinical case discussions based on real cases, clinical tools, and mentoring. The findings also suggest that training in senior care should be adapted to the supervisors' experience, profession, workload, and scope of intervention. Supervisors valued repeated CPD with longitudinal follow-up and easy access to trainers and to up-to-date training content.

Conclusions: The findings of this project will allow those who design CPD activities to adapt such activities to the preferences of supervisors, so as to improve their clinical and teaching skills in senior care. This, in turn, may help supervisors to embody an appealing professional role model for learners.

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice* / education
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Mentors*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching