Residents as teachers

Residency Program Insider, June 17, 2020

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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from The Residency Program Director’s Handbook, Third Edition. Click here to order your copy.

Program directors should be sure to include “residents as teachers” learning events in the residents’ didactic schedule and be aware of two standards set forth by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for undergraduate medical schools in the United States and Canada. Standards 3.1 and 9.1 specifically mention a resident’s role in medical student education and are as follows:


  • 3.1: Resident Participation in Medical Student Education: Each medical student in a medical education program participates in one or more required clinical experiences conducted in a health care setting in which he or she works with resident physicians currently enrolled in an accredited program of graduate medical education.
  • 9.1: Preparation of Resident and Non-faculty Instructors: In a medical school, residents, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other nonfaculty instructors in the medical education program who supervise or teach medical students are familiar with the learning objectives of the course or clerkship and are prepared for their roles in teaching and assessment. The medical school provides resources to enhance residents’ and nonfaculty instructors’ teaching and assessment skills and provides central monitoring of their participation in those opportunities.

Scheduling “residents as teachers” learning events early in the academic year can set the ground rules for effective teaching throughout the year. Many resources are available online to help establish fruitful didactic sessions and can be modified to suit any specialty. One way to bolster residents’ teaching skills is to have them start by reflecting on effective teachers and learning events that they have encountered. Verbalizing the qualities that they admire in a great educator can help them identify the qualities they should emulate in their own styles. Providing residents with sessions to enhance their teaching will also foster a good working relationship between the residency program director and the medical school clerkship directors.

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