Near-peer teaching (NPT) has gained prominence in education, with general practice (GP) trainees being asked to engage in medical education. Research demonstrates the benefits of NPT programs for both near-peer (NP) teachers and students. However, the effectiveness of NPT relies on adequate training and support for the NP teachers.
What are the needs of GP NP teachers taking on their roles as educators, specifically in supporting students during internships in GP and teaching clinical skills?
A qualitative research design using interviews was employed. Interviews were conducted after the implementation of a training session for voluntary GP trainees taking on the role of NP teachers. Each participating NP teacher was interviewed 3 to 8 weeks after the training to assess their needs using the experience-based learning model. Additionally, a follow-up interview was conducted with the first 10 participants, 5 to 7 months after the training, with the objective of identifying additional needs when experiencing daily practice as NP teachers.
The interviews (n=21), showed that an effective NPT program for GP trainees should include both training and support. Three training needs were identified: 1) acquiring essential pedagogical skills, including guidance on teaching technical skills, facilitating workplace-based learning, and delivering feedback; 2) understanding learning processes and providing emotional support to students; and 3) clarifying their own professional identity. When NP teachers start their teaching duties after training, 3 significant support needs were identified: 1) dedicated time to fulfill the role of NP teacher; 2) access to learning objectives of the internship or lesson; and 3) clear agreements regarding their mandate as educators.
The inclusion of voluntary GP trainees as NP teachers in education offers substantial benefits to all stakeholders. To maximize this value, it is crucial to provide training for their role as NP teacher and sufficient support in carrying out their tasks.
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