T E A C H
H = Help Students Succeed
As part of the educational process, medical students often rotate onto different services and clinics across multiple specialties. Each setting may have its own patterns and expectations so it may be difficult for students to adapt quickly. As a result, it is important to set clear expectations with the student at the beginning of the rotation:
- What is expected from a performance standpoint?
- What is expected in terms of patient encounters?
- What is the preferred protocol for presenting a patient?
- What is the preferred format/template for notes?
If your specialty frequently deals with certain aspects of the patient exam or certain anatomy, consider conducting a quick review for students at the beginning of the rotation. This may also relate to specifics around how to present a patient, how to write a note, etc. You might also refer students to certain resources (e.g. books or videos) prior to certain examinations or procedures. There may be some useful videos in this regard in the “Resources” section of this website.
Discussing with the student, up front, what the student needs to do to really “shine” while on your service will help the student immensely and it will make things easier for you as the instructor.
As you move through the rotation and identify knowledge gaps, provide specific direction for additional reading, focusing on topics relevant to patient care and, when appropriate, topics that may help inform or improve knowledge of the whole team.
Finally, the concept of feedback is critical to students’ success. Below are some helpful hints regarding feedback. A more extensive discussion of feedback can be found in the "Feedback" section of this website:?
- Provide constructive, timely and specific feedback. For example, the comment “great job,” while pleasant, does not tell students what they did particularly well.
- It can be helpful to begin feedback by asking students, “What do you feel went well?” Then ask, “What didn’t go so well for you?” It is often easier to discuss feedback when students bring up a topic, rather than you. This also enables the student to self-assess and self-reflect; these self-awareness skills are necessary for life-long learning.
- A second way to provide feedback is the “feedback sandwich.” Begin by mentioning something the student did particularly well, then discuss an area that can use some improvement, followed by another discussion of something the student did well. Placing feedback that can be perceived as negative between two “positives” can make receiving feedback more palatable to student and teacher alike.
Take a moment to identify the various things you plan to do to help students succeed who are on rotation with you:
- What will you want to know from your students?
- What information is critical for students to know when rotating with you?
- How will you address this information with students as they rotate with you (this could be addressed in person, through a fact sheet, information sheet, video, etc.)
- What resources will you gather ahead of time pertaining to your rotation so you can draw upon them, as needed, with your students?