Attending rounds on in‐patient units: differences between medical and non‐medical services


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Summary. The objective of this cross‐sectional observational study was to quantify communication patterns between teachers and trainees on in‐patient attending ward rounds and assess trainees' perceptions of the effectiveness of teaching interactions. Sixty‐nine in‐patient ward rounds on medical and non‐medical teaching services at a university hospital and its affiliated VA Medical Center were studied. Teaching rounds were observed and audiotaped, and trained raters coded verbal interchange for its location, speaker identity and topic of the exchange. One to three days following the teaching rounds, residents and students were interviewed and completed a questionnaire concerning recollections of the content of the session. Medical rounds lasted a mean of 90 minutes, while non‐medical rounds averaged 38 minutes. Medical teams spent more time than non‐medical teams on case presentations and discussions of diseases not directly related to patient care. Both groups averaged approximately 10 minutes directly interacting with patients, and equal times were spent speaking by the teacher and trainees. The role of postgraduate year 1 residents and medical students primarily was to recite details of patients' clinical condition. Twenty‐nine per cent of trainees were unable to recall a specific teaching point from rounds when interviewed 1–3 days later. Duration and content of in‐patient rounds differed on medical and non‐medical services. For both, discourse tended to be hierarchical, with those at different training levels adhering to specific roles. Bedside patient interactions were limited. The content recalled by students and house staff suggests that new, more effective educational paradigms are needed. 1993 Blackwell Publishing

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1993


  • *education, medical, undergraduate
  • clinical competence
  • physician‐patient relations
  • recall
  • teaching/*methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Attending rounds on in‐patient units: differences between medical and non‐medical services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this