How Theory Can Inform Practice: A Case of Easing Transition Into Residency

Acad Med. 2024 Mar 1;99(3):344. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005301. Epub 2023 Jul 16.


Health professions educators aim to optimally prepare trainees for future practice; educational theory can help reach this goal. Below we present an authentic case, I Just Need to Speak With My Eyes, that displays the significant struggles of transitioning into residency training. Using this case, we show how the application of 4 learning mechanisms described in Lave and Wenger's 1,2 theories of situated learning and communities of practice can help ease the transition into residency by addressing issues like self-questioning and emotional turmoil (see the colored boxes below). Situated learning refers to learning in everyday practice and highlights its fundamentally social nature as well as the progressive participation of the learner. 1 Communities of practice builds on the notion of people learning from each other, viewing learning as a shared enterprise among a group of people with a common purpose. 2.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Health Occupations
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*