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Signposting

Learners sometimes need a hand recognizing the teaching that is happening

In a busy ED, it can be a struggle to find time to talk about a clinical topic for more than a brief moment. Most of us do not find the time for in-depth discussion of recent publications or chalk talks in the middle of a clinical shift. For the same reason, the most intensive feedback we provide is often relegated to the end of shift. That doesn’t mean that we aren't constantly providing feedback and discussing clinical pearls during a busy shift, but it does make it harder for learners to identify those moments.

TRY THIS: The next time you give a learner feedback, call attention to what you’re doing so they can recognize it, too. This will also make them more likely to reflect on your suggestions and improve their future practice. Try phrases like:  

  • “I have some feedback for you.”  

  • “I’d like to give you some feedback about…” 

  • “Do you have a moment for me to give you some feedback?”  

  • “My feedback for you on this case would be…” 

You can use a similar technique to help learners identify clinical teaching: 

  • “So the learning point for this case is…” 

  • “Important pearl: …” 

  • “That was teaching.” 

Two of the most common criticisms from trainees across all of our clinical sites is that they do not get sufficient on-shift feedback and teaching. Let’s flip the script and help them better recognize what they’ve been getting all along.

Additional resources:

Hewson MG, Little ML. Giving Feedback in Medical Education. J Gen Intern Med 1998;13:111–6. 

Leigh, E. Signposting: An effective Communication Tool. The Center for Healthcare Communication. April 2009.

 

 

 

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