Date of Award



© 2020 Lisa Ingram Hutcherson

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ann Burch

Second Advisor

Ashwini Wagle

Third Advisor

Adriana Dyurich


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experience of leadership using Clinical Learning Environment Walks (CLEWs) to ascertain the current culture of the clinical learning environment. Physician trainees deserve the opportunity to train in an environment where staff are high performing and continually work to improve the quality of care provided to patients. The capacity to assess the clinical learning environment in its entirety is a novel concept brought to the forefront recently by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) due to the need for critical communication that is inherent in creating an optimal learning environment. Survey tools exist to ascertain the perception of residents regarding the clinical learning environment. There is little knowledge of tools using the framework of walking rounds in which leaders can ascertain the qualities of the clinical learning environment in their entirety.

Participants of the study included eight leaders who are physicians, nurses, and management within the university and healthcare system. The purposeful sample was identified using participants currently participating in the Clinical Learning Environment Walks (CLEWs) process. The study applied Giorgi’s phenomenological methods to analyze leaders’ conscious descriptions of their lived experience conducting CLEWs.

The findings provide a greater understanding of the lived experiences of leadership using CLEWs to ascertain the current state of the clinical learning environment in its entirety. Six themes emerged from the analysis: Us vs Them; Open and Honest Communications; Improved Communications; Enhanced Focus; Opportunities for Improvement, and Culture Change. The findings also include a diagram representing the connections between these themes. Researchers must continue to explore the efficacy of the CLEWs process in determining the current state of the clinical learning environment, which during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now more important than ever.


Ed.D. Dissertation