Site Visits in Family Medicine: Stakeholders Perspectives on How Site Visits Can Be Improved to Maximize Preceptor Support and the Quality of Medical Student and Resident Supervision


In 2012, the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa conducted a study to identify stakeholder’s perspectives of site visits and how they can be improved to support preceptors and provide the best learning experience for medical students and residents. Two data sources were utilized to address the research questions: interviews with stakeholders (both focus group and individual interviews) and online surveys with preceptors. The findings assert that establishing a process for site visits to maximize preceptor support and the quality of medical student and resident supervision is a complex process. Perceptions of quality site visits for all stakeholders were strongly linked to: 1) having clear expectations; 2) making site visits a priority and supplying the necessary support and resources; 3) supporting preceptors to be better teachers; 4) the quality and timeliness of preceptor feedback from residents and medical students; 5) involving the medical student and resident in the site visit process; and 6) an integration and collaboration among curriculum, faculty development and evaluation resources. As researchers continue to build site visit recipes based on theory and reflection of practical experiences, the resulting insights will enable all stakeholders in family medicine programs to make more informed decisions to positively impact the quality of the site visit experience, support preceptors in being better teachers and improve the quality of the supervision of residents and medical students. This study takes one step toward building a broad base of theoretical knowledge informed by practical experiences on site visits.

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MacDonald, C. , Seale, E. , Archibald, D. , Montpetit, M. , Tobin, D. , Hirsh, M. & McKeen, M. (2013). Site Visits in Family Medicine: Stakeholders Perspectives on How Site Visits Can Be Improved to Maximize Preceptor Support and the Quality of Medical Student and Resident Supervision. Creative Education, 4, 29-38. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.46A006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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