Developing Problem Based Learning (PBL) to support professional identity formation for medical students

In a series: Westfield Fund 2016
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Westfield 2016 project to foster development of professionalism in medical students

Dr Clare Penlington and Dr Anne Hills, Institute for Health Sciences Education

The aims of this project were to evaluate the effect of an enhanced focus on professional identity formation in PBL sessions within the year 2 Human Development module (HD2); to study the effect of facilitating discussion around broader professional issues relevant to PBL scenarios on student engagement and learning; and to evaluate the quality of dialogue in these PBL sessions around students understanding of professional identity formation.

The outcomes were as follows and they met the original aims of the project:

  1. There was evaluation of the use of PBL as a potential teaching and learning innovation for developing professional identity as part of the formal curriculum.
  2. There was evaluation of the current use of PBL in the integration of social issues and biomedical content.
  3. The introduction of professionalism prompts into PBL as a teaching and learning innovation for the development of medical students’ professional identities.
  4. The evaluation of pre-clinical medical students’ perspectives of professional identities.
  5. To provide recommendations to better incorporate the shaping of professional identities into the formal curriculum.

The recommendations from the outcomes are as follows:

  1. Training for all PBL facilitators and expansion into further cohorts and modules.
  2. Use of the prompts in PBL for clinical students to explore different perspectives of professionalism
  3. Reflection and collaborative earning in other parts of the curriculum, for example, GP placement teaching.

View the full project report or click to enlarge the conference poster below:

tl-conference-poster-penlington%2c-hills-and-jeyarayan-2018