Being a Clinical Educator: Exploring experiences through qualitative enquiry

  • Georgia Evans

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


Clinical education has important implications for learners, patients, and wider healthcare systems. It also has implications for clinicians who provide this role, particularly regarding their practice and wellbeing, though there has been little interest to date in investigating this from the educator perspective. This thesis used qualitative methodology to clarify and deepen our understanding of the lived experience of being a clinical educator. Paper One presents a systematic review and thematic synthesis of the experiences of clinician-educators from a range of clinical backgrounds. Databases were searched and 23 papers were identified for inclusion. Four analytic themes were generated: (1) Emotional Weight: students are a heavy burden; (2) Relationship & proximity: a journey from dependence to independence; (3) Personal enrichment: knowledge, validation, and meaning; and, (4) Community and systems: networks of support. Providing clinical education is a challenging role that has the potential to enhance the personal and working lives of clinicians when appropriate support is provided. Conditions required for effective educational experiences are highlighted by this review. Paper Two is an empirical investigation into the experiences of eight General Practitioner educators who facilitate Clinical Debrief, a model of case-based learning, for small groups of medical students. Results from semi-structured interviews were analysed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis and four themes were developed: (1) Personal enrichment: psychological "respite" and wellbeing; (2) Professional enrichment: Clinical Debrief as a "two-way" door; (3) Becoming a facilitator: a journey from insecurity to security (and back again); and, (4) Relationships in teaching: blurred boundaries and multiple roles. The implications of these findings for individual GPs, their patients, and the wider healthcare system, are discussed. Finally, Paper Three presents a critical reflection of the research conducted in this thesis. Pertinent issues from the process of conducting the research are discussed and the implications and relevance of the work are considered alongside personal reflections.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJoanna Brooks (Supervisor) & Adam Danquah (Supervisor)


  • General Practitioner
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Clinical Debrief
  • Preceptor
  • Clinical Educator
  • Thematic Synthesis

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