Introduction: Smart Phone Chat Apps (SPCA) is an integral part of people’s daily routine including orthopaedic education. SPCA facilitates efficient communication and learner-based management especially now as remote flexible learning is becoming the new norm in this COVID-19 pandemic medical training. The study described the use of a chat app (Viber) as experienced by residents and consultants in the Section of Adult Orthopaedics of the institution of the principal author. It described the mode and dynamics of the chat discussion amongst its participants, its perceived usefulness in teaching and learning specifically its relevance and applicability, its potential as a supplementary assessment tool, as well as its perceived effects.
Materials and methods: This is a phenomenological study and strictly adhered to data privacy. The principal author conducted a participant observation of residents’ three-month clinical rotation at the study site. Mobile phone screenshots of the chat interactions and focus group discussions with consultants and residents were done. Residents were also requested to complete a questionnaire. All qualitative data were iteratively content analysed and emerging themes were summarised using NViVO-12. Frequencies and percentage distribution were used to analyse quantitative data.
Results: Respondents included eleven senior, four junior residents, and nine consultants. Results show that SPCA is a useful, applicable, and relevant teaching and assessment tool. Influxes of multiple ideas per case were discussed real-time as the chat exchanges and interactions helped in the planning of the surgical management and eventual decision-making. SPCA also served as an effective surgical case log and online library, as well as an efficient, rapid, economical mode of information dissemination. The residents reported that it helped in developing their emotional maturity through self-reflection and self-criticism in the performance of their cases. The consultants concurred and added that they too were updated professionally in certain fields in orthopaedics.
Conclusion: The SPCA is a helpful, relevant, and acceptable adjunct teaching and learning tool for clinical teaching and can be, to a certain extent, a supplementary formative assessment tool of the resident’s communication skills, work ethics, initiative, and diligence.
Abstract | Reference