Residents as Teachers

Resident physicians spend numerous hours every week teaching medical students and fellow residents and only rarely are they taught how to teach. (Morrison, E. H. & Hafler, J.P. (2010). Yesterday as learner, today as teacher too: Residents as teachers in 2000, Pediatr, 105 (1): 238-241) The UHFMR, like many residencies, promotes PGY1 residents into PGY2 status with the expectation that they serve as upper-level teachers of their peers and medical students. To palliate this issue the program provides every PGY2 the opportunity to participate in a ‘teaching’ retreat.

This ‘Residents-as-Teachers’ retreat was conducted offsite and allows for learning-how-to-teach activities during the two-day off-campus event. The learning format for these sessions includes mini-lectures, small group discussions, and videotaped small group role plays. In addition, sessions to teach how to teach in clinical settings are interspersed with leisure activities.

The PGY1s take part in an annual competency based self-assessment of their teaching capabilities. This tool was adapted from a resident-teacher primer developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The results from this assessment will constitute a component of the baseline that is established for each resident that enable the project team to evaluate their progress along with the effectiveness of the intervention.

An important target population that is impacted by the residents’ aptitude to teach and communicate effectively is no other than the patients they serve. The majority of our residents consider themselves to be effective to very effective communicators and teachers. According to their self-assessment, they consider this to be an area of strength. In order to help the residents separate perception from reality, the project team is enacting a number of interventions.

For example, a month-long patient survey was conducted in January in which every patient who was seen by a resident at the Family Medicine Center (FMC) was given the opportunity to assess his/her communication and teaching ability. Our patients took great pride in providing our resident with feedback as illustrated by the 800+ responses.

The residents-as-teachers curriculum consist of an additional 10 modules to introduce pedagogical concepts including adult learning theory, orienting adult learners, giving feedback, teaching procedures, teaching documentation, giving effective lectures, using audio-visual media, setting and assessing goals and objectives, and role modeling and regular Objective Structure Teaching Examinations (OSTEs).

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