The newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE) is part of the newborn screening programme, performed between birth and discharge from hospital. It is a routine job for neonatal junior doctors at SHO (Senior House Officer) level. The process is taught during medical school, and at the start of every neonatal job, in a variety of ways. There has been minimal research into the teaching and learning of the NIPE, with most papers on the topic comparing junior doctors to other multidisciplinary team members rather than educational techniques. This project aimed to assess neonatal SHOs experience of teaching styles in their postgraduate education on the NIPE, including what they found enjoyable and useful.
Online questionnaires were used to assess SHO experiences of teaching styles in quantitative and qualitative ways. The survey was sent to all neonatal SHOs working at a tertiary level neonatal unit over the course of a year.
All SHOs were either ‘very satisfied’ (25%) or ‘somewhat satisfied’ (75%) with their experience of learning the NIPE, and had experienced a range of teaching methods including the NIPE e-learning package, bedside teaching, small and large group teaching and simulation. Thematic analysis showed several common views. SHOs appreciated bedside teaching due to the hands on, practical experience, and the fact they could be observed by more senior clinicians. However, the most popular method for learning the NIPE was a combination of e-learning and bedside teaching – the combination of the gold-standard resource and face-to-face practice was found most enjoyable and most useful. None of the SHOs surveyed had completed a workplace-based assessment based on the NIPE, but there were mixed views on whether this would have been beneficial.
Overall, blended learning – the combination of e-learning and bedside teaching – was the most favoured by the neonatal SHOs surveyed. The NIPE is an important newborn screening tool, and an important SHO skill. Teaching programmes should be adapted to ensure this combination of teaching methods is included.
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