Dr. Ted O’Connell teaches students to be proactive and independent during their rotation while acknowledging the teaching drive that every preceptor must have.
Residency program director, author, entrepreneur, and family medicine physician, Ted O’Connell, joins us today to discuss precepting of both medical students and residents in a variety of medical settings. He has many years as both a clinical educator as well as authoring educational review textbooks for students. His free question bank allows students to study medically relevant topics without the burden of extra expenses.
Ted acknowledges that a preceptor must have a strong desire and interest in teaching. Without this drive, it can be very difficult to adequately assess students and convey knowledge to their current level of comprehension. Keeping up with faculty development materials available within and outside of your institution can help update you on educational processes. He also believes that is it vitally important for students and preceptors to discuss their expectations for a clinical rotation in advance to provide a foundation for the medical experience.
A student that is proactive in their clinical education will gain the most benefit from their time. This can even begin BEFORE the clinical rotation begins by reaching out to the Rotation Coordinator for advice and researching potential residents and attendings one might have. Doing a little research on their interest can open up the conversation later on and provide an avenue for closer bonds to be formed.
Being proactive with patient care is also a student’s strength that can increase the preceptor’s view of the student’s competency level. Reading the patient history and other records ahead of time allows students to demonstrate more ownership of their patients. This not only can save the preceptor valuable time, but you may catch a routine lab draw or vaccination that could have otherwise been missed.
Students can prepare for clinical rotations by pretending they are on an isolated island and only they can save the patient. This may allow for more independent thinking and less reliance on residents or attendings for answers. They can also think aloud and explain their thought process as well, which allows for more exact feedback from their clinical preceptor. Independence in clinical tasks, being proactive, and following up on patients you have seen are things preceptor’s look for when a student asks for a Letter of Recommendation as well.