Postgraduate trainees’ perceptions of the learning environment in a Nigerian teaching hospital
Background. The learning environment represents various factors that describe the learner’s experiences in that setting. The learning environment of junior doctors undergoing training programmes in hospitals is considered a major factor determining both academic success and health service delivery performance. Increased performance in both areas requires routine assessment of the learning environment to identify components that need attention.
Objective. To evaluate the perception of junior doctors undergoing specialist training regarding the learning environment in a teaching hospital.
Methods. This was a single-centre, cross-sectional study, using the Postgraduate Hospital Educational Environment Measure (PHEEM). The questionnaire was used to collect data on the learning environment of junior doctors in all 10 clinical departments at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Nigeria. All of the junior doctors (n=148) in the hospital at the time of the study received the questionnaire; they constituted the sample size for the survey. Data collected were analysed to assess junior doctors’ perceptions of the overall learning environment and of the individual factors in the learning environment as measured by the individual items of PHEEM.
Results. The hospital educational environment was rated high, with a score of 98.25. The domains of the environment measure also showed positive perceptions, but revealed specific areas in need of attention as measured by the items of the questionnaire. Significant (p<0.05) differences were noted in the perceptions of some items of the environment in the clinical departments.
Conclusions. The junior doctors’ perceptions of their educational environment were positive. The study was able to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in the overall hospital learning environment and the specialty departments. Overall, it identified the absence of an informative handbook for junior doctors and quality accommodation and catering facilities when the doctors were on call, as well as excess workload and lack of counselling services as areas that require the most attention to improve the learning environment.