McMaster University

McMaster University

Tips for Facilitating Learning with Clinical Learners (from Dr. Solomon)

For clinicians, there will be many unique opportunities for teaching and learning. Clinicians will need to be selective about the number and type of “learning moments” to discuss with the students.

Some hints:

  • Students need time to reflect and apply information in different contexts; what might seem routine to clinicians may be new and significant learning for the students.
  • Some of the learning may be related to short moments that may be overlooked by preceptors.  It can be helpful to ask the students what they felt were key learning moments for them.

e.g. "What was it about Mr. Smith’s response to that question that made you concerned about his need for social support?"

  • On the other hand clinicians may observe an interaction between a student and a client/patient that they may feel would be an important learning moment that illustrates the objectives for which the learning experience was designed. 

e.g. "Mr. Smith implied that he was having difficulty moving around his apartment and seemed unsteady. If he was in the hospital and you were considering discharge which health professionals would you want to see him in his home?"

  • Having 2 students provides clinicians the opportunity to contrast and compare perspectives.  Remember they will be learning about both about themselves and their reactions to a new learning environment and about the new world around them. The sharing of perspectives helps students to see and learn from the experience through “other eyes”.

e.g.  After one student has shared his or her reactions or reflections, ask the other student to comment on whether this is what he or she also experienced.

  • Students get many opportunities to learn and discuss issues related to medical management of patients. For this experience it will be important to facilitate learning in areas of practice in which they get little experience. Sometimes students feel more comfortable asking questions related to areas of practice they have experienced or have some prior knowledge. Clinicians can acknowledge that a question may be important and try to bring the discussion back to the learning objectives.

e.g. Yes Mr. Smith’s surgical procedure and post-op management were quite unusual.  How is this related to his functioning in the home at this time?
Those are interesting observations. What information would be most important for me as a (PT, OT, SW)?


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