Deliberate practice in medicine: The motivation to engage in work-related learning and its contribution to expertise

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Abstract

This study examined physicians' motivation to engage in work-related learning and its contribution to expertise development beyond work experience. Based on deliberate practice theory, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 residents and 28 experienced physicians in internal medicine, focusing on the activities they engaged in during work that might contribute to professional development and the goals underlying this behavior. Learning motivation was also measured using a goal orientation questionnaire. Expertise was measured by a case test derived from the Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program (MKSAP). The interviews showed that participants' learning was largely embedded in everyday work; most of their learning activities were inherent to the job rather than motivated by competence improvement goals. The problems encountered in patient care played a key role in prompting learning. Role, work experience and work situation affected the type of activities engaged in, as well as the intensity of practice. Deliberate engagement in work-related learning activities was related neither to goal orientations nor to case test performance, except activities by the experienced physicians to keep up-to-date. Work experience, in contrast, showed a clear positive relationship with the performance of residents. Two main conclusions can be drawn from this study: (1) patient care induced relevant learning activities aimed at performance improvement for the patient's sake; (2) deliberate investments in learning can be enhanced to promote expertise development. Self-regulated learning by physicians needs to be strengthened and the organization for which they work should facilitate and encourage learning in daily practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
JournalVocations and Learning
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Workplace learning
  • Medical expertise
  • Motivation
  • Goal orientation
  • Deliberate practice
  • Work experience
  • FEEDBACK-SEEKING BEHAVIOR
  • GOAL ORIENTATION
  • JOB-PERFORMANCE
  • CLINICAL-EXPERIENCE
  • DECISION-MAKING
  • DOCTORS LEARN
  • HEALTH-CARE
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • PHYSICIANS
  • WORKPLACE

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