Successful and efficient diagnosis and treatment of patients in fast, high-pressure environments requires years of training and study. Equally, training, teaching, and supervising are important components of the job, as these responsibilities are carried out daily. The ability to prepare, communicate and assess teaching & learning effectively is a skill that must be developed on an ongoing basis- particularly when it involves new and complex situations. Moreover, applying teaching methods that cater to the various learning styles, skills and personalities of a team adds an extra layer of complexity.

Even the best doctors can sometimes find it difficult to teach or provide feedback to their colleagues. Limited time, different learning styles, conflicting personalities and communication barriers make these skills extremely hard, especially on the go.

Understanding the importance of group and clinical teaching skills and finding the right training to meet your needs can make the difference in on-the-job performance. The questions many have are, “what can development courses teach?” and “what kind of training can deliver value and maximise time investment?”

Teaching is an essential skill

Professional development is a professional responsibility to ensure quality patient outcomes. It is important that mandatory training provides quality opportunities for professional development.

This is further exaggerated by the uncertainty around what sort of development should be done and what will provide the most actionable benefits. Both experienced clinical supervisors and junior doctors will find themselves in a position that requires them to teach, communicate and assess those in their teams and under their supervision. But the skillset required for each role is completely different.

Unfortunately, not all training courses clearly identify and meet the specific needs of roles, instead offering a ‘one-size fits all’ approach, resulting in wasted time, missed opportunities, and continuous hardships for those required to teach (as well as those they’re teaching).

These experiences further drive those away from training in “essential skills”, which are so often viewed as intuitive and are deprioritised over clinical skills. In reality, these skills are rarely gained naturally and can almost always be improved upon.

Communication vs. Teaching

Communication is a skill that many medical professionals have. However, this isn’t the same as teaching – and it isn’t always easy to communicate the right way whilst operating in high pressure clinical environments. Specific skills need to be learnt and built upon to account for these situations, as well as all the extraneous variables you will encounter in terms of learning styles, skills and personalities.

“You need ways to be able to carry out the teaching part of your role with practical tools and skills – using efficient methods that will deliver the right results.”

Even in situations where individuals feel they have strong skills, there are specific tasks and areas that are required to carry out roles at a high standard. For example, Supervisors need to be able to:

  • Structure learning to optimise outcomes
  • Navigate roles, skills and personalities to deliver engaging learning opportunities and positive outcomes
  • Manage those struggling to learn or keep up
  • Provide useful, real-time feedback

Similarly, junior doctors need to be confident in their ability to teach their peers in a clinical setting and on the floor in an effective and efficient manner.

This development is multifaceted, from learning to deliver and master a skill, and then being able to practically implement it in working environments that are often critical and fast-moving. The right professional development training should be able to present ways to achieve the outcome regardless of environment or the difference between those you are teaching or supervising.

Learning to teach on the run

PMCV delivers the TELL Centre’s Teaching on the Run course (TOTR), a program that gives junior doctors and clinical supervisors the confidence and skills to teach their peers and juniors effectively. The program delivers a highly focussed syllabus about the important aspects of structured education, clinical teaching and group teaching techniques.

TOTR includes six modules that deliver practical and actionable skills for those at different levels and with different responsibilities, including:

  • Planning Learning: defining and identifying the purpose of key learning outcomes
  • Effective Group Teaching: active learning strategies for effective group teaching
  • Supporting Learners: increase confidence in dealing with difficult situations
  • Assessment Fundamentals: identify the elements of effective feedback and assessment
  • Skills Teaching: four-step approach to teaching a skill
  • Clinical Teaching: adult teaching principles to increase confidence in teaching abilities

The modular structure of the TOTR course provides the flexibility for doctors to choose modules based on their role, experience, skill level and knowledge gaps.

PMCV is proud to deliver the TELL Centre’s highly acclaimed suite of TOTR professional development modules to help doctors increase confidence when teaching. To learn more about the modules or to register, visit our Teaching on the Run page.

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