Influence of Gender in Preceptor-Student Dyads on Student Performance in Clinical Education A Report from the AATE Research Network

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Journal of Allied Health


CONTEXT: Health professions education programs incorporate clinical education to prepare students for autonomous clinical practice. Although preceptor-student gender dyads impact student evaluations, specific influences of gender dyad pairings on student autonomy and behavior implementation have not been identified. OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of preceptor-student gender dyads on athletic training student opportunities to engage in clinical practice during clinical experiences and to determine whether constitution of preceptor-student gender dyads influenced student ability to enact professional behaviors during patient encounters (PEs). METHODS: Multisite panel design involving 12 professional athletic training programs (ATPs, 5 undergraduate, 7 graduate). Participants included 338 athletic training students enrolled in ATPs that used E z.ast; Value to document PEs during clinical experiences. Student gender, student role in the PE (observe, assist, or perform), preceptor gender, and student implementation of behaviors associated with core competencies during the PE were measured outcomes. RESULTS: The 30,446 PEs were categorized into 4 preceptor-student dyad categories. Female students with male preceptors were less likely to perform PEs than they were to observe them (OR 0.76; 95%CI 0.69, 0.83; p<0.001). Female students with female preceptors reported fewer opportunities for behaviors associated with interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) (χ2(3)=16.6, p=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Female athletic training students under male preceptorship had fewer opportunities to perform during PEs, and female students under female preceptorship had limited opportunities to participate in IPECP. Health professions education program administrators should encourage students to advocate for opportunities in autonomous practice and implementation of professional behaviors.

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