The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of
for the degree of Doctor of Education
February 22, 2018 at 10:30 am in 320 Ball Hall
Major Advisor: Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, EdD
Effect of a case-based online discussion forum on resident professionalism knowledge and skills
ABSTRACT: Teaching professionalism in graduate medical education is required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Program directors face several challenges in developing and implementing methods to effectively teach professionalism. However, the benefits of implementing an effective method can lead to improved resident performance and knowledge, patient care outcomes, and teamwork interactions. A research proposal was developed to investigate the effects of a professionalism traditional lecture versus a professionalism traditional lecture and a case-based online discussion forum on residents’ professionalism skills as measured by the Professionalism Mini-Evaluation Exercise (P-MEX) and professionalism knowledge as measured by a posttest, while controlling for postgraduate year level and program. Residents from ACGME accredited Diagnostic Radiology and Family Medicine residency programs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center served as participants in a posttest only control group experiment. Participants will be randomly assigned to a control (e.g. traditional lecture) and experimental group (e.g. traditional lecture and a case-based, online discussion forum). After the lecture, the experimental group will participate in a four-week case-based, online discussion forum. Weekly discussions will be centered around case-based scenarios that highlight unprofessional behavior and encourage reflective discourse amongst the participants. Afterwards, professionalism skills will be assessed via the P-MEX and knowledge base will be assessed via a posttest. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was identified to determine the level of difference between the control and experimental groups’ professionalism skills and knowledge assessment results. The results for both the P-MEX and the posttest were not normally distributed as assessed by the Shapiro Wilks test. Since the ANOVA is robust when minor deviations to the normality assumption, it was used to assess the results along with the Kruskal-Wallis H Test acting in a supporting role. Both statistical tests revealed no statistically significant differences between the control and experimental groups P-MEX and posttest scores. The results indicate that the case-based online discussion forum had little to no effect on residents’ professionalism knowledge or skill levels.