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fmCASES Teaching Strategies Article in Family Medicine

Contemporary Teaching Strategies of Exemplary Preceptors - Is Technology Helping?

The November-December 2014 issue of Famiy Medicine features an article by several members of the fmCASES board about teaching strategies that community preceptors are finding effective. The full article can be found in Family Medicine 2014;46(10):776-82

Summary: Many schools rely upon community preceptors for office-based education of medical students. These preceptors struggle to balance clinical care with the learning needs of students. The aim of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of the teaching rewards and challenges of current community preceptors.

Five schools’ family medicine clerkship directors conducted in-depth interviews of two exemplary preceptors at each of their programs. Following qualitative analysis of the interviews, three directors conducted one focus group at their school. The individual and group interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using grounded theory. Exemplary community preceptors described strategies to improve the learning environment and specific teaching approaches. Well-known teaching strategies such as role modeling, adjusting instruction to the learner’s needs, and selecting patients appropriate for a specific student were used. They also described newer techniques such as co-learning and integrating technology, for example, accessing online, current practice guidelines together with the student. They detailed challenges to teaching, including time constraints and too much content to cover and provided advice about teaching tools.

While challenged by clinical demands, preceptors enjoyed teaching and found it rewarding. They used time-proven teaching strategies as well as technology and online resources to facilitate ambulatory teaching. Community preceptors continue to struggle to integrate learners and the priorities of the medical school curriculum into the clinical environment. Further development of electronic tools and other resources to support the teaching needs of preceptors may contribute to learning and help minimize preceptor burden.

Contributers to the article include fmCASES Board Members:  Stephen M. Scott, MD, MPH; Karen E. Schifferdecker, PhD, MPH; David Anthony, MD, MSc; Jason Chao, MD, MS; Alexander W. Chessman, MD; Katherine Margo, MD; Martha Seagrave, PA-C; Shou Ling Leong, MD