Contextual Competence and Collective Responsibility

Med Educ. 2021 Jun 7. doi: 10.1111/medu.14581. Online ahead of print.


The paper on 'contextual competence' by Teunissen and colleagues, in this issue, illuminates some dark corners of residents' experience adapting to new practice contexts. The authors are explicit about the emotional connection co-author Dr. Joanna Bates felt when participants described their difficulties and named the model in honour of her work in distributed medical education and its scholarly contributions to understanding the role of context. The model describes different trajectories residents follow to adapt and develop competency in new learning situations and highlights the limits of productive struggle. The authors discuss the need for educators to engage in reflective practice and to make orientation and debriefing opportunities available to learners. These teaching responsibilities may seem obvious but can be overlooked. There are important takeaways for distance educators from this study.