Teaching with Patients

Start with this fantastic overview that runs the gamut from real patients in real clinical settings to manikins to case studies: Involving Patients in Clinical Teaching

Patients in Clinical Settings

In combination with the tips you can find in the guide Incorporating Students into Daily Practice, Prepare everyone involved in the experience:

Brief the Patient

  • Who will be taking part in the examination (how many students, what and where they are studying, etc.) and how they will participate.
  • The learning objectives (e.g. the student is learning to take medical histories), being as general or as specific as you think will help the patient understand
  • How you, the student, and the patient will be interacting. Will you be in the exam room the entire time? Should the patient direct questions to you or the student? 
  • Relate any special instructions, including how to stop the teaching session at any time
  • Remind the patient that students are bound by the same confidentiality rules as other clinicians

Brief Yourself

  • Remind yourself of the steps and decisions involved in the most common procedures by doing a task analysis so that you are ready to make the most of situations as they arise.
  • Check the clinical findings
  • Check the students’ learning objectives to see which experiences may be most appropriate.

Brief the Students

  • Provide ground rules. Are there topics that should not be discussed? Do you have advice for approaching sensitive topics?
  • The learning objectives. Remind the student of the aim of the lesson.
  • Discuss how students will participate and assign roles if appropriate. Will they be sharing the work with you, with other students?
  • Review the patient chart and the reason for the patient’s visit.

(adapted from Teaching in the Clinical Setting)

Further Reading

Teaching with Patients (Medical Journal of Australia)

Five Steps for Effective Teaching at the Bedside (University of Calgary)

Teaching with Patients (London Deanery)

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