Unearthing the Learning of Genomic Medicine in the Workplace: a Qualitative Study

Alice Kim, Amy Nisselle, Jennifer Weller-Newton, Belinda McClaren, Louise Keogh

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Workplace learning is fundamental in contextualizing theoretical concepts into
practice, making it opportune for professionals to learn emerging concepts. With
genomic testing transitioning from the research space into healthcare, there are more opportunities to engage with workplace learning related to genomic medicine. We therefore aimed to unearth how genomics was being learnt in the workplace and the opportunities and factors that influenced these learning experiences. Qualitative secondary analysis was applied to a purposive sample of interviews with non-genetic physicians who had reflected on their genomic medicine practice and education. Thematic analysis, guided by Billett’s co-participation at work theory, was conducted to identify workplace learning opportunities related to genomic medicine and any influencing factors. A coding framework was developed and iteratively refined until consensus was reached. Various workplace learning opportunities related to genomic medicine were identified from interviews with 29 physicians. Engagement occurred through established clinical work practice, contextual affordances, and agentic pursuits. Barriers and facilitators influenced participants’ experiences and access with opportunities. Some participants recognized these learning opportunities
as “informal”; however, most did not. Opportunities to engage with workplace
learning beyond formal training are essential to ensure the medical workforce has
the knowledge and confidence to engage with practice-related developments. However, ‘work’ activities were not often recognized as ‘learning’ opportunities. With continued efforts to integrate genomics and other innovations into routine healthcare and help reduce the theory–practice gap, this study adds to our understanding of how workplace learning occurs and offers a platform on which to build a robust model for continuing education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-405
Number of pages19
JournalVocations and Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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