To explore former residents' perceptions of their experience of direct supervision.
Qualitative study using in-depth semistructured interviews.
Family practice unit (FPU) at Hôpital Laval in Quebec city, Que.
Twelve physicians who had been practising for 2 to 5 years and who did their family medicine residency in the FPU at Hôpital Laval.
Twelve interviews lasting 1 to 2 hours conducted by someone with no connection to the teaching centre. Interviews were taped and transcribed in full. Results were analyzed using L'Ecuyer's developmental method.
The former residents thought direct supervision had helped them in relationships with patients and in getting to know themselves, and was still doing them good several years later. It was also a difficult and disturbing experience; it created performance anxiety, forcing residents into self-examination and allowing others to see them as they really are. Three things made the direct supervision process easier: a preparatory activity, a focus on learning rather than evaluation, and their supervisors' ability to adapt to their learning styles.
The former residents appreciated direct supervision; in spite of the difficulties, it was worthwhile. This conclusion will encourage teachers to continue to be involved in direct supervision.