Learning medical practice

Akre V, Ludvigsen SR. Journal of Nordic Educational Research 1997; 17: 152-9.

Article in English.

Abstract (not available on Pubmed): In this article we explore how physicians develop professional knowledge in their daily work. Twenty in-depth interviews with physicians working in the surgical and internal medicine department of a central hospital were carried out in 1994. Explanatory models from situated learning theory and distributed cognition were applied in the analysis of the taped interview material. Access to learning situations is a premise for knowledge acquisition. Furthermore, the core of the traditional medical learning institutions is the master-apprentice relation. Here the inexperienced physician learns the necessary practical skills and ways of reasoning as well as standards of diagnosis and treatment in the hospital. In interaction with a more experienced physician the novice transcends what she can do alone and develops as a professional. The quality of training will depend upon the medical activities the inexperienced physician is exposed to and the dialogue between master and apprentice in relation to these activities.

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