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News & Events | Articles | September 5, 2013

Conformity to the Majority

The W21C Journal Club is proud to present:

Alyshah Kaba
Resident PhD(c), Department of Medical Education, UCalgary
Medical Education Research Associate, W21C

Conformity to the Majority: Peer Impact of Medical and Nursing Students’ Clinical Performance in an Interprofessional Simulated Training Environment

September 5, 2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

W21C Multi-Purpose Room
GD01, TRW Building
3280 Hospital Drive NW

Article/Presentation Summary:

Communication between practicing nurses and physicians directly impacts patient safety and medical errors (Hendrickson & Dayton, 2006). This study aims to investigate a particular form of communication error, namely peer pressure to conform to inaccurate information communicated by a member of a healthcare team because of this need to be a “team player.” Group conformity is one such influence that refers to the act of changing an individual’s behaviour to match the responses of others (Guo et al., 2010). While research on group conformity has existed for 60 years since Asch’s (1951) seminal work in the field of social psychology, this phenomenon has not yet been systematically examined in medicine. The following presentation will examine whether nursing students, who may be trained to follow orders given by doctors, are likely to conform to a group of medical students who give incorrect vital sign readings from a simulation mannequin. This work will lay the foundation for the future study of conformity within a clinical context.

Learning Objectives

  1. Define group conformity and understand how it occurs in medical education and professional practice.
  2. Use an experimental research design to conduct research on conformity amongst interprofessional students.
  3. Consider potential implications of group conformity in regards to inhibiting student learning, interprofessional communication, team decision-making and patient safety.

The W21C Journal Club is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of the Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.