Med Educ Online. 2022 Dec;27(1):2101180. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2022.2101180.
The ward round has traditionally been a learning activity in medical education. Apart from education, ward rounds have multiple roles including patient care and communication. Some studies have described the ward round as an ideal place to learn patient management while others reported that little learning happens on rounds due to lack of time and patient volume. This study aimed to develop a deeper understanding of ward round learning from the perspective of postgraduate trainees. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used and data was collected during focus group discussions. Data were analyzed by initial coding, then grouped into focused codes and development of a theoretical framework by the process of constant comparison. Six categories evolved which contributed to the framework. Postgraduate trainees perceive the ward round as an important space where they use different learning activities to acquire knowledge, attitude and skills required of a specialist doctor. They progress from novices to experts under supervision of faculty who lead ward rounds. The round can achieve its full learning potential if planned and organized well but can become a missed opportunity if the learning environment is unfriendly. Patient- and learner-related barriers exist that hinder ward round learning. The framework explains how ward round learning occurs in postgraduate medical education from a trainee perspective. The findings can guide interventions to improve the learning experience. Studies comparing perspectives of teachers to those of learners are needed to further understand the complex learning milieu of the ward round.