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A mixed method, multiperspective evaluation of a near peer teaching programme
  1. Sinéad Lydon1,
  2. Paul O'Connor1,
  3. Orla Mongan2,
  4. Miroslawa Gorecka2,
  5. Lyle McVicker2,
  6. Aiden Stankard2,
  7. Dara Byrne1,2
  1. 1 School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, County Galway, Ireland
  2. 2 University Hospital Galway, County Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sinéad Lydon, Department of General Practice, National University of Ireland Galway, 1 Distillery Road, Newcastle, County Galway H91 TK33, Ireland; sinead.lydon{at}


Purpose of study Peer teaching (PT) has become increasingly popular. PT may offer benefits for students, tutors and institutions. Although resistance to PT has been identified among faculty, research has typically focused on students' experiences and perceptions, rather than those of the peer tutors or senior doctors/medical faculty. The current study comprised of a comprehensive, multiperspective evaluation of a near PT programme delivered by interns to final-year medical students in the Republic of Ireland.

Study design This study employed a mixed methods design, using both interviews and questionnaires to assess students' (n=130), interns' (n=49) and medical faculty's or senior doctors' (n=29) perceptions of the programme.

Results All three groups were emphatic about the programme's benefits, although senior doctors and faculty reported significantly more positive attitudes than the others. Mean ratings of the programme's value, out of 10, were 8.2 among students, 8.2 among interns and 9.1 among senior doctors and faculty. Challenges identified were largely organisational in nature. Perceived benefits for students included the informality of teaching sessions, increased opportunities in the clinical environment and improvements in exam preparedness. Perceived benefits for the interns included improvements in knowledge and teaching ability and experience as a role model.

Conclusions PT programmes have been posited as an ‘easy fix’ to growing numbers of students. However, it is apparent that PT has substantial value outside of this. Future research that conducts economic evaluations of such programmes and that collects objective data on teaching quality and student learning would be of much interest.

  • peer teaching
  • intern
  • medical student
  • professional development

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  • Twitter Follow Sinéad Lydon @sinead_lydon

  • Contributors POC, DB and OM submitted the original application for funding. SL, POC, OM and DB were involved in developing the programme, along with the recruitment and training of peer tutors. OM, DB, MG, LM and AS ran the programme across the two semesters. SL, OM, MG, LM, AS and DB collected data. SL and POC analysed the data and wrote the paper. All authors contributed to reviewing the drafted paper and to the revision following initial peer review.

  • Funding This research was supported by the Health Service Executive's National Doctors Training and Planning.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was received from the hospital's research ethics committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data collected have been described within this article. However, the authors are happy to share this data with other researchers upon request.