Shaping a Culture for Continuous Quality Improvement in Undergraduate Medical Education

Guy W. G. Bendermacher*, Willem S. De Grave, Ineke H. A. P. Wolfhagen, Diana H. J. M. Dolmans, Mirjam G. A. Oude Egbrink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Purpose

This study sought to identify key features of an organizational quality culture and explore how these features contribute to continuous quality improvement of undergraduate medical education.

Method

Between July and December 2018, researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands conducted a multicenter focus group study among 6 education quality advisory committees. Participants were 22 faculty and 18 student representatives affiliated with 6 medical schools in the Netherlands. The group interviews focused on quality culture characteristics in relation to optimizing educational development, implementation, evaluation, and (further) improvement. Template analysis, a stepwise type of thematic analysis, was applied to analyze the data.

Results

Five main themes resembling quality culture constituents to continuous educational improvement were identified: (1) fostering an open systems perspective, (2) involving stakeholders in educational (re)design, (3) valuing teaching and learning, (4) navigating between ownership and accountability, and (5) building on integrative leadership to overcome tensions inherent in the first 4 themes. A supportive communication climate (which can be fueled by the organization's leaders) contributes to and is integrated within the first 4 themes.

Conclusions

The results call for a shift away from static quality management approaches with an emphasis on control and accountability toward more flexible, development-oriented approaches focusing on the 5 themes of a culture for continuous quality improvement. The study provides new insights in the link between theory and practice of continuous quality improvement. Specifically, in addition to quality management systems and structures, faculty's professional autonomy, collaboration with peers and students, and the valuing of teaching and learning need to be amplified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1920
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume95
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES
  • MANAGEMENT
  • ACCREDITATION
  • PERCEPTIONS
  • LEADERSHIP
  • ASSURANCE
  • PROGRAMS
  • FACULTY

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