I am delighted to share this fantastic blog with you from Dr Pauline Morris. Many thanks Pauline.
When I reflected on my time as both a student and a teacher in my clinical ventures on wards, in clinics and in my domain- theatres, I came to the conclusion (not a new one admittedly), that it’s not easy being a good teacher OR a good student!
Despite these being fundamental skills in medicine, the learner-trainer interaction, is not well taught and we are often left to figure it out on our own.
This little blog is not about the theory of education, but rather the neat little strategies that will allow you to have meaningful teaching and learning interactions as student and teacher, within the often chaotic environment of clinical work.
All the strategies are learner-focused, but also meant to reinforce the mentor-mentee relationship that underpins the apprenticeship of medicine.
My time spent obtaining a postgraduate certificate in medical education and contributing to the field of medical education as a mentor and appraiser, clinical and educational supervisor along with facilitated course instruction and simulation has presented me with many opportunities to test out these strategies that I’ve collated for you.
These little titbits don’t require any special equipment (but some preparation) and are designed so that you can implement them into your teaching and learning strategy today!
Prepare for Learning– Clinical environments rarely present the opportunity for didactic teaching, so be prepared, do your reading/research, have an idea of what you want to get out of the day and share it with your teacher/trainer.
The Learner/Teacher Interaction– Be considerate- your teacher may not have been expecting you, or they may have just finished a difficult case or conversation. Expect to contribute to the care of the patient. Ask what you could do to help. Getting tasks out of the way means more time and focus on you!
Feedback- You should expect to get feedback after training interactions. If you haven’t had any, please ask your trainer to provide some. Feedback can’t always be positive and may even be difficult to hear or accept. Be sure to ask questions and try to clarify where the need for improvement may be.
Remember feedback is generally difficult for the receiver and the giver (they will not always get it right!)
Assessments– Ask your teacher/trainer right from the start for the assessment post event. This allows them to assess you fairly. Remember, the clinical situation may not be conducive to you being assessed and you will not always be able to be signed off as competent, make sure you ask for feedback if and when that does happen.
Prepare for Learning– Have an idea of the curriculum for your potential trainee/student. If this is not possible, ask them. Ask the trainee/student what they would like to get out of the day.
Have a plan- which is appropriate to the level of the learner. Whenever possible link teaching/training to present clinical situation.
The Learner/Teacher Interaction– When you’re not prepared for a training session, you may just need a few minutes to get yourself together. A nice gesture could be to sponsor the trainee for a nice coffee whilst get yourself in the right mindset!
Feedback- Give feedback with care, at the right time and right place. In private if needed, be specific about what went well and where there is room for improvement. Pay attention to the recipient’s reaction you may have to change your tactics and delivery!
You too should illicit feedback from the learner on your teaching/training content and skills. I even ask my team and the patients for their observation of the teaching session!!
Assessments– Expect to have to complete assessments. It often doesn’t have to be there and then, but asap to maintain as much accuracy as the human mind can!
I do hope I’ve made it obvious that the learn/teach paradigm are two sides of the same coin (if I haven’t, I apologise I meant to!), in an apprenticeship such as medicine, perhaps they can be no other way. We do all spend a considerable amount of time in both roles concurrently and simultaneously!
• Remember you’re both human and make mistakes; we all have bad days.
• Be kind and appreciative.
• Learning/teaching should have some elements of fun!
• Remember the patient in all this- Consent, Permission and Respect.
Dr. Pauline Morris. Consultant Anaesthetist, Career and Personal Development Coach, Author, Founder of Doctors Caring for Doctors. email@example.com