Introduction: Residents play a critical role in the education of other residents and medical students. The duty-hour restrictions have also placed increased pressure on improving the "efficiency" of education. We hypothesized that the addition of formal training as educators would improve education of other residents and medical students in neurosurgery.
Methods: This was a prospective pilot study of the impact of a formalized teacher training program on neurosurgery residents. All current residents participated in a 10 hour certificate in education program originally designed by the Clinical Learning and Simulation Skills (CLASS) center at George Washington University Medical Center. The program was designed to introduce residents to adult learning theory, and impart teaching skills considered most useful in case based teaching in clinic and the operating room. These skills involved didactic methods for teaching knowledge, and methods for teaching a manual skill.
Each participating resident underwent an Objective Structured Teaching Evaluation (OSTE) before and after participation in the program. These OSTEs are similar to structured clinical evaluations ("simulated patients) used in medical schools, and revolve around a simulated learner. Additionally, participants evaluated themselves as teachers before and after the program. Non-statistical evaluation methods were used.
Results: There was objective and subjective evidence of improvement in all six domains of teaching on which the program focused. Prior to the training, residents demonstrated the highest ability in teaching a manual skill compared to teaching knowledge. There were notable improvements in skills to impart knowledge to an individual learner after the training.
Conclusions: The addition of a 10 hour formalized program in teaching residents how to be better teachers resulted in improved objective scoring of residents ability to impart knowledge to an individual learner. As residents play a critical role in teaching other (junior) residents and medical students, such programs may be beneficial if incorporated in residency training.
Patient Care: Formal training of residents as teachers has the potential to improve junior residents and medical students skills and knowledge as they participate in patient care.
Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to: 1) Describe the differences between adult learning and early schooling, 2) Understand the role of formalized educational programs in teaching residents as teachers, 3) Implement similar programs in their own institution.
References: Gaba ND, Blatt B, Macri CJ, Greenberg L. Improving teaching skills in
obstetrics and gynecology residents: evaluation of a residents-as-teachers program. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Jan;196(1):87.e1-7.
Blatt B, Greenberg L. A multi-level assessment of a program to teach medical students to teach. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2007 Feb;12(1):7-18. Epub 2006 Oct 14.