Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Can J Anaesth. 2012 Feb;59(2):203-12. doi: 10.1007/s12630-011-9639-7. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Review article: closing the research gap at the interface of learning and clinical practice.

Author information

  • 1Department of Field Activities, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, Chicago, IL 60654, USA.



The dialogue at the interface of education and clinical practice highlights areas of critical importance to the development of new approaches for educating anesthesiologists. The purpose of this article is to examine the literature on education and acquisition of competence in three areas relevant to the interface of learning and clinical practice, with the aim to suggest a research agenda that adds to the evidence on preparing physicians for independent practice. The three areas are: 1) transitions across the continuum of education; 2) the effect of reductions in hours of clinical training on competence; and 3) efforts to incorporate the competencies and CanMEDS roles into teaching and evaluation.


Fifty-six articles relevant to one or more of the themes were identified in the review, including 21 studies of transitions (in, during, and after residency education), 19 studies on the effects of duty hour limits on residents' acquisition of competence, and 16 articles that assessed competency-based teaching and assessment in anesthesiology. Overall, the findings suggested a relative paucity of scientific evidence and a need for research and the development of new scientific theory. Studies generally treated one of the themes in isolation, while in actuality they interact to produce optimal as well as suboptimal learning situations, while medical education research often is limited by small samples, brief follow-up, and threats to validity. This suggests a "research gap" where editorials and commentaries have moved ahead of an evidence base for education. Promising areas for research include preparation for care deemed important by society, work to apply knowledge about the development of expertise in other disciplines to medicine, and ways to embed the competencies in teaching and evaluation more effectively.


Closing the research gap in medical education will require clear direction for future work. The starting point, at an institution or nationally, is dialogue within the specialty to achieve consensus on some of the most pressing questions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk