Clinical settings are optimal for teaching medical students about clinical care and provide a contextual backdrop that can accommodate a range of learning, from basic, surface-level learning to a deeper understanding of complex topics and scenarios. Teaching and learning in clinical settings can also be challenging due to time constraints, clinical variability in patients, the complexity of certain patient conditions, and the need to adapt to learners’ needs based on changing clinical scenarios.
The 5 Precepting Microskills provide a framework for teaching in a clinical setting: 1) get learners to commit to their clinical thought process; 2) probe for the rationale behind what learners are thinking; 3) teach “general rules” to address necessary educational needs; 4) reinforce what learners did well, in specific terms and avoiding generic “Good job” types of statements; and 5) provide feedback about errors and omissions. It may be helpful to couch this in the context of a “feedback sandwich” (discussed in the module on Providing Feedback).
These 5 microskills provide a comprehensive strategy for clinical instruction and they will help you address the educational needs of your learners in a complex clinical context.