Poster Abstract

Exploring Practicing Physicians’ Understanding of the Concepts of Practice-based Learning, Self-directed Learning, and Reflective Practice (P035)

Jeanne G. Cole (Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University)


An exploratory qualitative study to investigate the phenomenon of practice-based learning (PracBL) of family physicians (FP) practicing in an academic medical center (AMC) was conducted. Participants’ discussed their understanding of key concepts in PracBL, [self-directed learning(SDL), reflective practice(RP)]. Interviews explored participants’ narratives of they applied these concepts in practice.


Thirty(30) FPs were identified from a single FP academic practice. Only full-time, board-certified FPs were eligible. They were categorized as experienced or novices based on experience and academic title.


Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed by the researcher. Data were analyzed using NVIVO, and analyzed using a constant comparative method. Literaturebased frameworks for SLD and RP were developed to aid analysis. The study received appropriate IRB approvals.


Nine FPs (30%) completed the study. As a group, they described PractBL and related processes as primarily unstructured. FPs appeared comfortable in defining PracBL, including both their clinical practice experiences and interactions within the AMC. They had difficulty defining SDL and RP. They did not explicitly apply RP to their own PracBL. However, interview analysis revealed FPs employed strategies related to PracBL and SLD. Further, experienced FPs described implicit use of critical RP in their efforts to maintain and improve their competence and performance.

This study points to a need for explicit discussion of reflective practice within the profession, and an exploration of how practicing physicians might more intentionally apply reflective practices to their practice-based learning to improve their competence and performance.


Identify any real or apparent conflict(s) of interest. NONE