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Impact of reflective learning on physicians’ attitudes and care

Peter John Carek, William Geiger, Maurice W. Oelklaus, Wes James, Ann M. Karty.

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Reflection is thought to play a significant role in health professionals’ implementation of learning from continuing medical education (CME) courses into practice. The use of reflective learning as an integral aspect of CME activities to enhance learning and practice changes has not been studied. Therefore, the specific aim of the study is to examine the impact of a Web-based CME activity that emphasizes reflective learning on the attitudes and professional activities of family physicians. Individuals participating in online CME modules were asked to complete a Transition to Practice (t2p) questionnaire that was designed to encourage the participant to reflect on actual changes made in their practice, barriers faced during implementation, and strategies put in place to maintain the change. Responses to specific questions were coded to identify trends and important themes. Of the 1,599 physicians enrolled in at least one of the online CME modules, 71 (4.4%) of these physicians completed the entire t2p questionnaire and process. More than three-quarters (78.2%) of participants who completed Step 3 of t2p reported changes to their thoughts and attitudes regarding their management of patients with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes. Reflective learning in CME with the use of Web-based learning modules and the t2p instrument impacted the attitudes and patient care activities of participating physicians.

Key words: Reflective learning, continuing medical education, family medicine

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