EM Mindset: Tips on Becoming a Supreme Educator

Author: Benjamin H. Schnapp, MD (@schnappadap, Assistant Program Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Wisconsin) // Edited by: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK, EM Attending Physician, UTSW / Parkland Memorial Hospital) and Brit Long, MD (@long_brit)

I can’t pretend to know more about how to be a great EM doc than the amazing folks who have already written for this series – the archives are filled with endless pearls of wisdom and are well worth a look (http://www.emdocs.net/category/em-mindset/).  Educating in the midst of a busy EM shift, however, requires its own dedicated mindset to be successful.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned about teaching in EM along the way.

Every great teaching shift has a beginning, middle, and end.

I sometimes find myself at a loss as to what feedback to give residents at the end of shift; the day goes by so quickly, it’s hard to remember what points I once wanted to communicate.  This is almost always because I didn’t organize my day properly from the start.  If I ask learners at the beginning of the shift what their goals are for the day, it helps organize my interactions with them.  Rather than trying to evaluate everything they do, I can zero in on one aspect of their performance, which is easier to accomplish.  The feedback conversation at the end of shift also flows naturally – it’s easy to bring up your initial conversation and immediately have specific suggestions that you know the resident is interested in.

Bring a toolbox to work.

You wouldn’t show up to build a house without the proper set of tools for the job.  Why would you show up for your next teaching shift similarly unprepared?  All sorts of great teaching tools have been developed to help you deal with any educational quandary you might come across.  Need to work on developing a learner’s differential diagnosis?  You’ve got to know about the SPIT technique.  Don’t have time for a verbose presentation right now?  Aunt Minnie may be just the thing.  “Teaching When Time Is Limited” (http://bit.ly/2kQPs9S) is a great place to learn more about these essential skills.

If you are interested in reading the rest of this and other EM Mindset pieces, please see “An Emergency Medicine Mindset,” a collection evaluating the thought process of emergency physicians. This book is available as ebook and print on Amazon.

6 thoughts on “EM Mindset: Tips on Becoming a Supreme Educator”

  1. This is brilliant, thank you. Such a great distillation of pearls and especially making it about the mindset of the teacher. Even though I’m a pedi neurologist (one of those pesky consultants) these will still be very relevant for a busy day on the wards or in the clinic.

  2. Great post. All of us involved in teaching residents and medical students want to do it well while keeping the ED from imploding. I use of many of your suggestions but have picked up several new ones. Important teaching points can also be made in scripting them for interactions with consultants/admitting physicians and then reviewing strengths and opportunities for improvement. We set the tone for the entire ED and being the attending that the residents look forward to working with should be a prime motivator.

  3. W.O.W. such basic stuff that is not vocalized. I thank you for the freshness of spirited sharing.
    I hope to read more.

  4. W.O.W. such basic stuff that is not vocalized. I thank you for the freshness of spirited sharing.
    I hope to read more.

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