Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

John Encandela


Teaching experiences in medical school and projected confidence in teaching during residency and career plans in medical education.

Isha Di Bartolo, Michael R. O’Brien, and Michael Green.

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Teaching is an important part of being a physician and of being a physician-in-training. Although training to be an effective teacher is already a part of the curricula of many residency programs, it remains unclear what teaching experiences are available to medical students and how these students are affected by these experiences. The aim of this study is to qualify the types of formal and informal teaching experiences that medical students are exposed to and to determine what effect participating in these experiences has on their projected confidence in teaching and their interest in academic medicine and a career in medical education.

To this end we conducted an online, cross-sectional survey of medical students in all years of training at a private northeastern allopathic medical school to assess types of teaching experiences that medical students engage in as well as their attitudes towards teaching. We analyzed the data using ordered logistic regression with both unadjusted models and models adjusting for potential confounders including demographics, prior teaching experiences and students’ self-reported competencies in basic science, clinical knowledge and clinical skills.

Of 472 medical students approached, 203 (43%) completed the survey. A majority of respondents (56%) participated in teaching experiences while in medical school. In both adjusted and unadjusted models, engaging in teaching in medical school was associated with improved confidence in teaching (adjusted OR=3.04; p<0.001), as well as an increased interest in a career in medical education (adjusted OR=2.32; p=0.01). There was no statistically significant correlation with an interest in a career in academic medicine (adjusted OR=1.14; p=0.67), nor in how much the student felt that medical school prepared him or her for teaching in residency (adjusted OR=1.32; p=0.38). A large number (33%) of the experiences medical students believe best prepared them for teaching in residency occurred at HAVEN Free Clinic, Yale School of Medicine’s student-run free clinic, as well as at the Anatomy Teaching Program (21%), in which medical students teach high school students in the anatomy dissection lab. In free text responses, many students expressed that they believe their training to teach would best be complemented by a combination of formal didactics and enhanced hands-on teaching experiences. Longitudinal cohort studies are necessary to assess actual improved teaching performance in residency.

A majority of students surveyed (56%) participated in teaching experiences in medical school. There is an association between engaging in teaching experiences and confidence teaching, as well as with increased interest in a career in medical education. Longitudinal studies are necessary to assess whether or not confidence and competence in teaching in residency are affected by teaching experiences in medical school.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access