Developing Medical Capacities and Dispositions Through Practice-Based Experiences

Jennifer Cleland*, Joseph Leaman, Stephen Billett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Citations (Scopus)


Experiences in clinical settings have long been featured in medical education. Students engage in these experiences across their undergraduate programmes and beyond their registration as doctors during specialty training. Such is the institutional, personal and financial investment in the provision of these practice-based experiences that it is important to understand more about how they can be used to most effectively develop medical capacities and dispositions initially and then continue to support them across medical working lives. Consequently, this chapter seeks to understand more fully something of practice-based experiences’ contributions to initial and continuing medical education and learning. Quite specifically, it seeks to identify how three key educational purposes can be secured through experiences in clinical settings. These goals are those associated with assisting individuals to (1) identify whether they want to practise medicine and, if so, which specialty they wish to pursue; (2) develop the occupational capacities required to practise their preferred form of medicine; and (3) continue to learn and develop further their medical practice over lengthening professional lives. The data from interviews with new doctors beginning their second-year post-graduation clinical work in the UK medical training pathway (Foundation Year 2) are used to identify and illuminate how these experiences can be used to realise each of these three kinds of goals. The intention is to understand how best these experiences might be afforded to, and taken up by, newly qualified doctors, and in what ways practice-based experiences need to be augmented to more fully secure those medical education goals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourses on Professional Learning
Subtitle of host publicationOn the Boundary Between Learning and Working
EditorsChristian Harteis, Andreas Rausch, Jürgen Seifried
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789400770126
ISBN (Print)9789400770119
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameProfessional and Practice-based Learning
ISSN (Print)2210-5549
ISSN (Electronic)2210-5557

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the following for supporting and facilitating the data collection reported in this chapter: Drs. Peter Johnston, Kim Walker, Richard Coleman and Emma Watson. Our thanks also go to Nathan Smith for his help with data collection and to the new doctors who participated in the interviews. The interviews were granted ethical approval from the College of Life Sciences and Medicine Ethical Research Board (CERB), University of Aberdeen.


  • Junior Doctor
  • Medical Education
  • Medical Practitioner
  • Medical Student
  • Practice Setting


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