Learning (Better) Medicine Together

Cecilia Shinn, Matilde Padrão Dias, Inês Maio, Marta Marquês, Nelson Gaspar


Within the Family Medicine Residency Coordination of the Lisbon Region (FMRCLR) we have almost 800 residents placed in 180 different health units, each with different clinical and learning resources, creating a challenge to provide equal access to learning opportunities. A frequent difficulty within the training curriculum was the lack of protected time to study and consolidate knowledge. In 2019 the new curriculum mandated 8 hours a week of non clinical activities such as tutoring, mentoring and relational learning.


In FMRCLR we established weekly obligatory 4 hour sessions for Family Medicine Residents called Relational Learning Sessions (RLS), and published a Guidance Manual. Residents meet in person with fellow residents of the same curricular year and geographic area. Themes discussed follow the national Curriculum as well as themes proposed by the group. Outside lecturers can contribute to activities, and tutors are welcome to attend. A member is responsible for organizing sessions and producing a weekly activities report.


In 2021 there was an online national debate which highlighted different regional realities. FMRCLR residents had the highest compliance rate. FMRCLR organized informal feedback from Residency Directors and Tutors which identified asymmetric implementation and attendance rates. In 2022 a national survey was published showing asymmetric implementation. The majority of resident doctors recognized its usefulness. Currently all FMRCLR residents have access to RLS and are guaranteed at least 4 hours blocks for non clinical work.


Within FMRCLR the RLS sessions have aimed at reducing asymmetries and offering access to uniform learning experiences to all residents. The handbook has allowed the sessions to be organized in a productive and homogeneous fashion. We are currently reviewing the manual through focus groups, questionnaires and regional debates.

Points for discussion:

Adaptation to Relational Learning Sessions

Spreading Relational Learning Sessions

Updating learning handbooks


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