Co-teaching in an Undergraduate Clinical Skills Course: Physicians and Social Behavioural Scientists Use a Shared Mental Model to Highlight Complementary Aspects of Medical Interviewing and Physical Exam Skills

Emily Hogikyan, Jennifer Stojan, Karri Grob, Willem de Grave, Patricia Mullan, Michelle M. Daniel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Interdisciplinary co-teaching by physicians (MD) and social behavioural scientists (SBS) has emerged as an innovative teaching practice in clinical skills courses, but little is known about how co-teachers operationalize instruction. The purpose of this study was to explore the shared mental model of co-teachers concerning medical interviewing and physical examination instruction.
Methods: Twelve individual semi-structured interviews were conducted at Brown University. Participants were
asked, "What and how do MD and SBS faculty contribute to teaching medical interviewing and physical examination
skills?" Transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis. Discourse analysis was also used to determine if what
faculty individually described as contributing to instruction was observed by the co-teacher.
Results: Physician and SBS faculty emphasized different but complementary aspects of medical interviewing and
physical examination skills. Physicians focused on content, targeting clinical reasoning, differential diagnosis,
economy of movement, efficiency, synthesis, and technical skills. SBS faculty focused on process,emphasizing
active listening, presence, non-verbal communication, rapport building, empathy, and patient comfort.
Discussion: Co-teachers consistently articulated their relative contributions to teaching medical interviewing and
physical examinations. Their shared mental model emphasized the importance of both content and process, creating a learning environment supporting the development of both biomedical and patient-centred perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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