Student and Faculty Perceptions of Factors Influencing the Clinical Learning Experience

Aurora Denial, OD, FAAO
Leon Nehmad, MSW, OD, FAAO
Julia Appel, OD, FAAO



Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare student and faculty perceptions of factors influencing the clinical learning experience. The areas investigated were: causes of stress, confidence levels and teaching interventions that contributed to the transference of knowledge from the didactic to clinical setting.

Methods: Students and faculty from two optometry colleges participated in the study. Focus group methodology was used and responses were analyzed to identify commonalities and trends.

Results: Trends related to causes of stress were: transitions, clinic scheduling, expectations, supervisor behavior, challenging patients and faculty stress. Trends related to building students’ confidence were: feedback, independence and supervisor’s demeanor. Teaching interventions that fostered confidence and the transference of knowledge were identified as: case discussions, seminars, skill demonstrations and questioning of students.

Conclusion:This study illuminated several trends that were perceived by students and faculty to impact the clinical learning environment. Student and faculty perceptions demonstrated similarities in several areas. Trends that were not identified by both groups are important to acknowledge when trying to improve the clinical environment.

Key Words: clinical education, stress, confidence, transference of knowledge

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