Clinical educators’ skills and qualities in allied health: a systematic review

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Background: The skills and qualities of effective clinical educators are linked to improved student learning and ultimately patient care; however, within allied health these have not yet been systematically summarised in the literature. Aims: To identify and synthesise the skills and qualities of clinical educators in allied health and their effect on student learning and patient care. Method: A systematic search of the literature was conducted across five electronic databases in November 2017. Study identification, data extraction and quality appraisal were performed in duplicate. Qualitative and quantitative data were extracted separately but analysed together using a thematic analysis approach whereby items used in quantitative surveys and themes from qualitative approaches were interpreted together. Results: Data revealed seven educator skills and qualities: (i) intrinsic and personal attributes of clinical educators; (ii) provision of skillful feedback; (iii) teaching skills; (iv) fostering collaborative learning; (v) understanding expectations; (vi) organisation and planning; and (vii) clinical educators in their professional role. Across all themes was the concept of taking time to perform the clinical educator role. No studies used objective measurements as to how these skills and qualities affect learning or patient care. Discussion and conclusion: Despite much primary evidence of clinical educator skills and qualities, this review presents the first synthesis of this evidence in allied health. There is a need to examine clinical education from new perspectives to develop deeper understanding of how clinical educator qualities and skills influence student learning and patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-442
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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