Fostering Professional Formation in Residency: Development and Evaluation of the "Forum" Seminar Series

Melissa Nothnagle*, Shmuel Reis, Roberta E. Goldman, Gowri Anandarajah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Residency training is a critical time for physicians' professional formation. However, few structured interventions exist to support residents in this transformative process of integrating personal and professional values, a process that is essential to physician identity formation and preservation of core values such as service and compassion. Purposes: The authors created a seminar series, the "Forum," to support resident professional formation and address the hidden curriculum as part of a larger intervention to support self-directed learning skills such as goal setting and reflection. Methods: Ninety-minute sessions with senior residents and faculty held every other month include opportunities for individual reflection, small- and large-group discussion, and brief didactic components focused on skills such as teaching and leadership. The qualitative program evaluation included analyses of individual semistructured interviews with resident and faculty participants from 2008 to 2011 and of notes recorded by an observer during the 1st year's sessions. Results: Residents appreciated the focus on relevant issues, presence of faculty, opportunities for reflection and interactivity, and inclusion of practical skills. Effects attributed to the Forum included gaining practical skills, feeling a deeper connection to one another and a sense of community, and recognizing progress in their own professional development and growth. Elements described in the literature as essential to professional formation, including encouraging reflection, use of narrative, role modeling, addressing the hidden curriculum, and fostering an authentic community, were recognized by participants as integral to the Forum's success. Conclusions: A group forum for reflection and discussion with peers and role models, tailored to local needs, offers an effective structure to foster professional formation in residency. © 2014

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • postgraduate education
  • professional development
  • reflection


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