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February 1997

Intern Learning and Education in a Short Stay UnitA Qualitative Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine (Drs Marks, Baskin, and Lovejoy), and the Office for Educational Development (Dr Hafler), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(2):193-198. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170390083015

Objective:  To study interns' perceptions of their learning during their rotation through a short stay unit (SSU).

Design:  Case-based, qualitative research study.

Setting:  A tertiary care pediatric hospital (The Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass).

Participants:  Ten interns who had worked in the SSU in the 3 months prior to June 1, 1995, and on a general medical team in the previous 12 months.

Intervention:  None.

Main Outcome Measures:  In July 1995, the interns participated in focused, open-ended interviews lasting about 40 to 60 minutes to document their perceptions of their learning during their SSU rotation. The interviews were recorded on audiotape and transcribed prior to analysis. Data were analyzed to discern and categorize themes from the interns' responses.

Results:  All interns responded favorably to their educational and learning experiences during their rotation through the SSU. Two major themes emerged: (1) the interns'learning, which was affected by the role of the attending physician, the organization and structure of the SSU, and the teaching strategies in the SSU; and (2) the interns' collaborative work with the nursing staff in the SSU, which affected patient care but did not facilitate the interns' learning.

Conclusion:  Clustering in the SSU of patients whose symptoms suggested straightforward diagnoses enhanced interns' educational experiences.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:193-198