Measuring the clinical learning environment in anaesthesia
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The learning environment describes the way that trainees perceive the culture of their workplace. We audited the learning environment for trainees throughout Australia and New Zealand in the early stages of curriculum reform. A questionnaire was developed and sent electronically to a large random sample of Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists trainees, with a 26% final response rate. This new instrument demonstrated good psychometric properties, with Cronbach's α ranging from 0.81 to 0.91 for each domain. The median score was equivalent to 78%, with the majority of trainees giving scores in the medium range. Introductory respondents scored their learning environment more highly than all other levels of respondents (P=0.001 for almost all comparisons). We present a simple questionnaire instrument that can be used to determine characteristics of the anaesthesia learning environment. The instrument can be used to help assess curricular change over time, alignment of the formal and informal curricula and strengths and weaknesses of individual departments.