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Broadening conceptions of medical student mistreatment during clinical teaching: message from a study of “toxic” phenomenon during bedside teaching

Authors Olasoji HO

Received 20 October 2017

Accepted for publication 31 January 2018

Published 22 June 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 483—494

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S154642

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder


Hector Oladapo Olasoji

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Purpose: Part of the local hidden curriculum during clinical training of students in the University of Maiduguri medical college in Nigeria, metaphorically referred to as “toxic” practice by students, are situations where a teacher belittles and/or humiliates a student who has fallen short of expected performance, with the belief that such humiliation as part of feedback will lead to improvement in future performance. Through a framework of sociocultural perspective, this study gathered data to define the breadth and magnitude of this practice and identify risk and protective factors with the aim of assessing effectiveness of current intervention strategies.
Materials and methods: Using a mixed method research approach, quantitative data were collected from fourth-year medical students in a Nigerian medical college through a survey questionnaire, and qualitative data were obtained through a face-to-face, individual, semi-structured interview of students attending the same institution.
Results: Findings indicate that many students continue to experience “toxic” practice, with only very few reporting the incidents to relevant authorities, raising important questions about the appropriateness of current intervention efforts.
Conclusion: Current intervention strategies grossly underestimate the influence of institutional forces that can lead to or promote this behavior. Acknowledgment of this has implications for an appropriate intervention strategy.

Keywords: clinical teaching, verbal interactions, belittling, socio-cultural perspective, intervention

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