Identifying and overcoming the barriers to bedside rounds: A multicenter qualitative study

Jed D. Gonzalo*, Brian S. Heist, Briar L. Duffy, Liselotte Dyrbye, Mark J. Fagan, Gary Ferenchick, Heather Harrell, Paul A. Hemmer, Walter N. Kernan, Jennifer R. Kogan, Colleen Rafferty, Raymond Wong, D. Michael Elnicki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose: The use of bedside rounds in teaching hospitals has declined, despite recommendations from educational leaders to promote this effective teaching strategy. The authors sought to identify reasons for the decrease in bedside rounds, actual barriers to bedside rounds, methods to overcome trainee apprehensions, and proposed strategies to educate faculty. METHOD: A qualitative inductive thematic analysis using transcripts from audio-recorded, semistructured telephone interviews with a purposive sampling of 34 inpatient attending physicians from 10 academic U.S. institutions who met specific inclusion criteria for "bedside rounds" was performed in 2010. Main outcomes were themes pertaining to barriers, methods to overcome trainee apprehensions, and strategies to educate faculty. Quotations highlighting themes are reported. RESULTS: Half of respondents (50%) were associate or full professors, averaging 14 years in academic medicine. Primary reasons for the perceived decline in bedside rounds were physician- and systems related, although actual barriers encountered related to systems, time, and physician-specific issues. To address resident apprehensions, six themes were identified: build partnerships, create safe learning environments, overcome with experience, make bedside rounds educationally worthwhile, respect trainee time, and highlight positive impact on patient care. Potential strategies for educating faculty were identified, most commonly faculty development initiatives, divisional/departmental culture change, and one-on-one shadowing opportunities. CONCLUSIONS: Bedside teachers encountered primarily systems- and time-related barriers and overcame resident apprehensions by creating a learner-oriented environment. Strategies used by experienced bedside teachers can be used for faculty development aimed at promoting bedside rounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


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