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Characteristics of Good Clinical Educators from Medical Students' Perspectives: A Qualitative Inquiry using a Web-Based Survey System


  • Gary Sutkin

    (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA)

  • Hansel Burley

    (Texas Tech University, USA)

  • Ke Zhang

    (Wayne State University, USA)

  • Neetu Arora

    (Texas Tech University, USA)


Medical educators have a unique role in teaching students how to save lives and give comfort during illness. This article reports a qualitative inquiry into medical students’ perspectives on the key qualities which differentiate excellent and poor clinical teachers, using a Web-based questionnaire with a purposeful sample of third- and fourth-year medical students. Thirty-seven medical students responded with 465 characteristics and supportive anecdotes. All participants’ responses were analyzed through reviewing, coding, member checking, recoding and content analysis, which yielded 12 codes. Responses from 5 randomly chosen participants were recoded by two authors with an inter-rater reliability coefficient of 0.72, implying agreement. Finally, 3 larger categories emerged from the data: Content Competence, Teaching Mechanics, and Teaching Dynamics. We incorporate these codes into a diagrammatic model of a good clinical teacher, discuss the relationships and interactions between the codes and categories, and suggest further areas of research.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Sutkin & Hansel Burley & Ke Zhang & Neetu Arora, 2008. "Characteristics of Good Clinical Educators from Medical Students' Perspectives: A Qualitative Inquiry using a Web-Based Survey System," International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics (IJHISI), IGI Global, vol. 3(2), pages 69-86, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:igg:jhisi0:v:3:y:2008:i:2:p:69-86

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