UNM School of Medicine

Office for Medical Educator Development
MSC 08 4710
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: (505) 272-8820

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Physical location:
Fitz Hall, Room B81

What Role Do Residents Play as Teachers?

"Residents as teachers are essential to the education of medical students and interns, and they universally serve as teachers at teaching hospitals." (Rider, Federman & Hafler, 2000).

"House officers not only influence the acquisition of medical knowledge and skills of junior residents and medical students, but are also responsible for creating a positive learning environment, communicating a sense of enthusiasm, and demonstrating a commitment to keeping abreast of new knowledge, procedures, and technologic advances." (Miller, 1980)

Teaching Tools: GOFER

Goal | Objectives | Framework | Evaluation | Revision

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  • Data indicate that residents spent 20-25% of their time supervising, teaching, and evaluating medical students and other residents. (Wilkerson, Lesky & Medio, 1986; Armstrong et al., 2001; Dunnington & DaRosa, 1998; Spickard, Wenger & Corbett, 1996)
  • Students estimate that one-third of their learning is taught by residents (Barrows, 1966), perceive residents as having a significant role as teachers during the first clinical year (Bing-You & Sproul, 1992)
  • Residency directors in a national survey estimated that residents provided 62% of inpatient teaching for medical students.

How Do Residents Feel About Their Role as Teachers?

  • "Residents perceive themselves as important teachers of students." (Bing-You & Tooker, 1993).
  • "Residents also felt that teaching improved their own clinical skills." (Bing-You & Harvey, 1991)
  • "...several authors have confirmed that residents enjoy teaching, would prefer to teach more if service responsibilities were lessened, and feel that teaching improves their own medical knowledge." (Bing-You & Harvey, 1991)
  • "The residents also reported that they felt unprepared for the teaching role and lacked confidence in their abilities as teachers. " (Wilkerson, Lesky & Medio, 1986)

What Do Data Indicate About the Effectiveness of Resident Teaching?

"Residents are expected to teach but they are often not assisted in developing their teaching skills." (Rider, Federmann & Hafler, 2000).

"Previously reported interventions to improve residents' teaching skills suggest that formal instruction in these areas enables residents to be more effective teachers and increases their enjoyment of teaching." (Apter, Metzger & Glassroth, 1988; Jewett, Greenberg & Goldbert, 1982; Bing-You & Harvey, 1991; and Wilkerson, Lesky & Medio, 1986; cited in Wipf, Pinsky & Burke, 1995)

  • "In studies of residents' teaching, residents frequently fail to take advantage of teaching opportunities during work rounds and tend to favor lecturing over asking questions and actively involving the team in clinical decision making." (Irby, 1994).
  • "Evidence suggests that many residents teach ineffectively... they rarely cited literature, asked questions, or gave feedback to their learners--all teaching behaviors found to be highly effective in the faculty development literature." (Morrison, 2000)
  • From observational study, "...residents fail to exhibit teaching behaviors that can enhance learning in a patient care setting. This failure...may be attributed to the residents' restricted concept of teaching and their lack of appropriate skills for integrating patient care with teaching." (Wilkerson, Lesky & Medio, 1986).
  • "The results of this study...indicated that during ward rounds the residents exhibited few of the teaching behaviors that can enhance learning in a patient care setting... Clinical reasoning, problem-solving, and supervised decision-making were not recognized as learning goals that might be pursued while charts were being reviewed and patients were being visited." (Wilkerson, Lesky & Medio, 1986)