Exploring the "Hidden Curriculum" in Emergency Medicine Training Programs

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LeBlanc, Constance
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Introduction: The Emergency Department (ED) is popular with learners. Amid the chaos we teach, sometimes oblivious to messages sent and lessons taught. This exploration of the "hidden curriculum" is a glimpse at the some of the content of this curriculum in two postgraduate Emergency Medicine (EM) programs. The objective of this study was to stimulate reflection on the importance of role modeling in medical education and hopefully to moderate the content. Methods: A survey and subsequent focus group interviews of faculty and residents in two Emergency Medicine (EM) training programs was conducted. The surveys were mailed in October 2005 and the focus group interviews conducted in May 2006. Results: The main focus of the hidden curriculum messages were inter- and intra-disciplinary disrespect in the provision of care. Messages also related to patient care in the form of lack of respect, laughing at patients, and blaming them. Other elements identified included gender issues, lifestyle expectations and financial concerns. Conclusions: The perceived content of the hidden curriculum was different for faculty and residents. We must heighten role-modeling consciousness.
Canada , Emergency medical services , Emergency medical personnel