T E A C H
C = Create a Learning Context
Unfortunately, many physicians recognize examples of negative learning environments they experienced as students, residents, or fellows, whether they were attempts to work with an autocratic attending, being “pimped” with the intent of demeaning the learner, or being ignored.
Take a moment to reflect on the following:
Did you experience any particularly negative encounters with residents with whom you worked during medical school?
If so, think about one or two of them and reflect on:
- What attitudes and/or behaviors did the resident exhibit?
- Were there particular things the resident “did” or “said” that made the experience negative?
- How did these attitudes and/or behaviors make you feel?
Most medical students want to be involved, even those who are shy or who need additional encouragement. Here are a few simple hints to help you set the stage for learning:
- Create an environment where students can ask questions: If needed, discuss ahead of time how students should get questions answered in the middle of a busy day of patient care.
- Try not to be judgmental when students ask questions, no matter how obvious the answers may seem.
- Try to make students feel like a part of the team by creating meaningful ways to contribute to the patient care process.
- Take time to get to know students.
- Treat your students as you would want to be treated - Nobody wants to be ignored, treated rudely, publicly dressed down, abused, or be given menial tasks unrelated to clinical care.
- As an instructor, you are a model to students and you impact them by what you say and do. Pay attention to your professionalism and curb derogatory comments regarding patients, colleagues, and other learners. While professionally inappropriate, derogatory humor can also make students uncomfortable. Creating an environment where all are respected and treated with dignity is a necessity.
Adapted from Collaborative Clinical Education, by Westberg and Jason, Springer Publishing, 1993.
Take a moment to think about the kind of learning environment you want to create with students who are rotating with you:
- How do you plan to learn more about your students?
- What kind of learning environment do you want to create?
- What will you “do” or “say” to create that environment?
- How will you verify that you are indeed creating the type of environment you “think” you are creating?