The Hidden Curriculum: A Good Thing?
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Introduction The hidden curriculum is defined as a set of influences that function at the level of the organizational structure and culture to impact learning. Literature supports the significant impact of the hidden curriculum on all levels of learners in medical education. Our project aims to capture the messages being delivered to healthcare providers at our local facility. Methods Multiple one-time educational sessions on the hidden curriculum were provided over a five-year period to healthcare professionals. Participants were asked to share personal examples of their lived experiences with the hidden curriculum. A thematic analysis of the responses was completed and coded by two independent reviewers. Results Participants consisted of medical students, residents, faculty physicians, and allied health professionals. Their experience of the hidden curriculum emerged in six main themes: Vulnerability, Hierarchy, Privilege, Navigation & Negotiation, Positivity, and Dehumanizing. Conclusion A minority of responses demonstrated the positive impact that the hidden curriculum can have on professional development. This project highlights the importance of formally addressing the hidden curriculum to capitalize on its impact on medical trainees. The results have inspired a project focusing on residents as the population of interest in their unique role as learners and preceptors.
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