Making the Most of Teaching Time

Much of clinical teaching involves the learner interviewing and examining a patient, and then presenting the information to the preceptor. This strategy is common both in inpatient and community based settings. Studies have indicated that, on average, these interactions take approximately 10 minutes and the time is divided into several different activities. (See Figure 1.) Much of the time is taken up by the presentation of the patient by the learner. Additional time is spent in questioning and clarifying the content of the presentation. As a result, only about one minute of time is actually spent in discussion and teaching.

Figure 1.

The One-Minute Preceptor approach allows the preceptor to take full advantage of the entire encounter in order to maximize the time available for teaching. The teaching encounter will still take longer than one minute, but the time spent is more efficiently used and the teaching effectiveness is optimized.