Review article: Closing the research gap at the interface of learning and clinical practice

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The dialogue at the interface of education and clinical practice highlights areas of critical importance to the development of new approaches for educating anesthesiologists. The purpose of this article is to examine the literature on education and acquisition of competence in three areas relevant to the interface of learning and clinical practice, with the aim to suggest a research agenda that adds to the evidence on preparing physicians for independent practice. The three areas are: 1) transitions across the continuum of education; 2) the effect of reductions in hours of clinical training on competence; and 3) efforts to incorporate the competencies and CanMEDS roles into teaching and evaluation. Principal findings: Fifty-six articles relevant to one or more of the themes were identified in the review, including 21 studies of transitions (in, during, and after residency education), 19 studies on the effects of duty hour limits on residents' acquisition of competence, and 16 articles that assessed competency-based teaching and assessment in anesthesiology. Overall, the findings suggested a relative paucity of scientific evidence and a need for research and the development of new scientific theory. Studies generally treated one of the themes in isolation, while in actuality they interact to produce optimal as well as suboptimal learning situations, while medical education research often is limited by small samples, brief follow-up, and threats to validity. This suggests a "research gap" where editorials and commentaries have moved ahead of an evidence base for education. Promising areas for research include preparation for care deemed important by society, work to apply knowledge about the development of expertise in other disciplines to medicine, and ways to embed the competencies in teaching and evaluation more effectively. Conclusion: Closing the research gap in medical education will require clear direction for future work. The starting point, at an institution or nationally, is dialogue within the specialty to achieve consensus on some of the most pressing questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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