T E A C H
E = Engage Students
Medical students are usually excited about being in a clinical setting and they want to learn. At the same time, residents and attendings are incredibly busy with heavy case loads and competing demands on their time. It can be challenging to take time to teach, and students are often “left to read” or worse, abandoned while their instructor attends to clinical responsibilities. Given this challenging context for teaching, the following list identifies a few things you can do to engage medical students in a busy clinical context:
- Take advantage of teachable moments - Teach as you go, maintaining proper patient confidentiality when teaching in public spaces, such as hallways and elevators.
- Teach about process as well as clinical content - While the process may be second nature for you, it is new to students, particularly early in the clinical clerkship year (March/April). In addition, as medical students are able to learn basic process skills, they are better able to assist the medical team if a repeated need arises, e.g. ordering medical files from another site, entering pended orders into EPIC, etc.
- You do not need to do all of the teaching - At times it is appropriate to have a medical student accompany a patient through a test or procedure without you present. However, this is highly student-dependent and the test or procedure should be something the student has little prior knowledge about or exposure to. It is also important that the student doesn’t feel abandoned. For example, if you know the student is unfamiliar with a certain procedure, you might say:
“Since you haven’t seen this performed before, what would you think about accompanying Mr. Smith to his procedure? Afterwards, come back here and you can tell me what you learned.”
- If a new/unfamiliar clinical?issue arises, have students research the topic and bring information back to the team the following day. That way, students learn something new while also contributing to the team.
- Do some planning prior to the student's arrival. For example, develop a few 5-10 minute presentations related to common medical scenarios seen on your rotation. You might identify a few seminal articles pertaining to common medical scenarios in your specialty. Having this kind of information at your fingertips will improve your efficiency as an instructor. This information can be used as new students rotate with you throughout the year.
Before your next student arrives, think about the following:
- How did residents engage you when you were a medical student?
- Make a list or “menu” of approaches and resources you want to utilize to engage students. Selecting from a known list of options is easier than coming up with something on the spur of the moment.