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Education and Health

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The training of doctors today

Challenges and realities

Autor: Patrícia Rosado Pinto +

pages: 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 | pdf | next article »

The profile of professionals in the field of education working in the MED

Simpson and Bland (2002) define the role of an education specialist (referred to as “educationalist”) working in a faculty of medicine as “one who studies the education process and prepares others to become teachers – by teaching the medical school faculty about the science of education” (p. 223) and they mention the three areas of intervention – application of educational principles to teaching practices, a scientific approach to assessment and teacher training.

As far as the characteristics of this “educationalist” are concerned, the authors stress that the person in question should be an “outsider”, in other words, he/she should try to help the teachers of medicine to achieve their aims and use their “outsider’s” vision to influence them in their decisions as well as doing research to support the advice being given. Furthermore, these authors state that the educationalist can not change the curriculum alone, since this is the responsibility of the teachers. However, he/she should fulfil the role of consultant and constructor of collaboration networks. This may be achieved by working in partnership with the teachers of medicine and doing research in order to support the positions adopted and to earn credibility within the institution.

Moreover, he/she should act as an example in pedagogical training, using the training courses to show his/her competency in the field. On the other hand, besides being competent in the area of teaching, one of the requirements for acceptance of this professional in a faculty of medicine seems to lie in his/her academic differentiation within the field of education (Hitchcock, 2002).

In the case of the FCM, the most valued features of the education sciences professional, working in a faculty of medicine, were not so different from those referred to in the above-mentioned article. Differentiation and subsequent credibility in the pedagogical field were emphasised, as well as the use of the proposals created to solve specific pedagogical problems, the outsider’s approach to medical culture articulated, however, in such a way as to adapt to the style of the teacher of medicine’s sphere of actions.

To sum up, the educational professionals are expected to develop flexible and adaptable professional identity modalities (Astolfi, 2003), and the educational consultant “consultant aux savoirs incertains” (Mougel, 2003, p. 273), is required to be capable of conciliating two tendencies: telling the truth, on the strength of his/her convictions and the search for feasible solutions to the problems he/she is confronted with. According to Mougel (2003), the attitude of this consultant will imply resorting to a range of professional behaviour types which can be summed up in the following points: listening to the “client”;

consideration of the request (choice of questioning process, identification of the problem, development of an issue, raising of hypotheses, research clues); negotiation of the “contract specifications” (what to do); research (study of the problem in partnership with the teachers from the department under analysis); diagnosis (after processing collected data); prognosis (a report on the way of solving the problem); suggestion regarding evaluation mechanisms and ways of maintaining quality in solution implementation); respect for the values and priorities of the “client” (pp. 287-288).

Therefore, a consultant is someone who can bring together competency and credibility with openness and flexibility in problem solving and respect for a culture which is not his/her own. Once again, according to Mougel (2003), it is precisely the involvement of the educational consultant in the solving of specific problems which will help him/her to leave behind a discourse of absolute truth which is unsuitable for the current reality of institutions.

Final Note

Nowadays, it is clear that doctors need to adapt themselves to new situations and address the changes in the area of health. Being aware of this need, the faculties of medicine have begun to alter their curricula, in an attempt to make the training of future doctors more geared towards these new realities. Curriculum and pedagogical realities have raised some difficulties and resistance on the part of teaching staff. Part of the solution to this problem may be found in a pedagogical and professional type of training for the teachers so that they may be supported in their choice and use of a wide range of flexible pedagogical responses (Kogan, 2001).

As far as the teachers in faculties of medicine are concerned, the role of the departments of education, as an instrument to support change and institutional development policy, has been broadly stressed. These change practices must be analyzed and systematized so that they become the object of research, since the renewal of higher education institutions, based on credible data stemming from objective and systematized knowledge is of utmost importance.

About the Author:

Patrícia Rosado Pinto (tp.lnu.mcf@acidemudeREVERSETHIS) - CV

Faculty of Medical Sciences of the New University of Lisbon

Curriculum innovation, Education and Health, Medical Education Department, Pre-Graduate Medical Education.
How to refer to this article:

Pinto, Patrícia Rosado (1970). The training of doctors today. Challenges and realities. Sísifo. Educational Sciences Journal, , pp. 73-88. Retrieved [month, year] from http://sisifo.fpce.ul.pt