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Study suggests need for broader use of individualized learning plans for physicians
Date:3/9/2010

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) Physicians would be better prepared for the accelerating rate of scientific discovery and more in step with the latest in patient-care if they added an important tool to their medical bags: a plan for how to keep pace with emerging health-care advances.

That is the finding of a national study published online today in the journal Academic Pediatrics which examines whether pediatric residents know how to develop plans to ensure they'll keep abreast of current medical practice.

"Medicine is not a static profession," said Su-Ting Li, assistant professor and associate residency director in the Department of Pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine. "It's a profession where things change all the time. If you don't keep up, you're not going to be providing the best care for your patients."

The study, "Factors Associated with Successful Self-Directed Learning Using Individualized Learning Plans During Pediatric Residency," involved 46 or 23 percent of all pediatric residency programs in the United States and nearly 1,000 of the approximately 1,700 pediatric residents surveyed. Participants were dispersed throughout the country, in the north, south, east and west, at large and small hospitals, and university-affiliated and community institutions.

Residents are physicians who have finished medical school and are completing their training under the guidance of fully licensed physicians. There is widespread agreement that residents and all doctors must participate in lifelong learning activities. Many are required to document those efforts with self-directed "individualized learning plans," or ILPs.

For the study, the residents responded to computerized survey questions developed at UC Davis about their ability to continuously assess their level of skill and their use of ILPs. Ninety percent of respondents said they knew their strengths and 92 percent knew their weaknesses. But only 26 pe
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Contact: Phyllis Brown
phyllis.brown@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9023
University of California - Davis - Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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