Project Details

A project, undertaken by University of Otago, to encourage the regular involvement of patients in giving feedback to assure quality learning by health professionals in training through the development of a routine way of incorporating patients’ views into teaching and learning.


The main aims of the project were to:

  • develop a survey instrument that can be used to evaluate patients' views of teaching and learning in clinical settings and to use the findings for quality improvement
  • gather and provide feedback from patients on the teacher, the learner and the learning environment
  • value and protect patients, who give their time and emotional energy to support the learners
  • enthuse and better prepare learners for their vocations as health professionals
  • focus learners on the ultimate goal of their training - to serve their patients and communities.


The project methodology involved:

  • developing and piloting a questionnaire for patients, which was administered to about 350 patients in a variety of clinical learning environments
  • asking patients for their views on the teacher, the learner, and the learning environment
  • patients' feedback being given in aggregate form to teachers and students; to inform, improve and motivate teaching and learning.


university of otago

Associate Professor John Dockerty

Project Leader

University of Otago
university of otago

Dr Lynley Anderson

University of Otago




$123,463.00 (excl GST)

$9,667.00 Regional Hub Project Fund
$113,796.00 University of Otago

Key Findings

  • Overall patients reported positive experiences with their interactions with medical students. Positive aspects included: an increased knowledge of their condition, enjoyment from helping students learn, and good company. 
  • Few negative experiences were identified. Those reported included ‘unnecessary procedures, examinations or other harms’, not feeling comfortable, feeling the student was disrespectful or inconsiderate, and the student taking up too much of the patient’s time.
  • Ratings of students and teachers were highest in primary care, followed by emergency and outpatients, and then wards.  

Key Recommendations

  • That providers of health professional education take steps to routinely find out what patients think of teaching and learning, and incorporate their views into the quality cycle



SUMMARY | Listening to what patients say about medical school teaching and learning

An executive summary report prepared by John Dockerty.

(PDF, 365 KB, 9-pages).

  • 23 March 2019
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