Teacher-training for hospital residents improves medical students' education, UCI study shows

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 17, 2003 - Resident physicians make better instructors for medical students and interns when they receive formal teaching training, a UCI College of Medicine study has found.

The study is among the first to quantify how specialized training for resident physicians improves their teaching and mentoring skills. Traditionally, medical students and interns at a hospital receive significant mentoring and supervision from resident physicians, who are themselves still undergoing medical training. Study results appear in the Aug. 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

"This study objectively evaluated the impact of teaching instruction on improving residents' performance as mentors and instructors," said Dr. Elizabeth H. Morrison, associate professor and director of predoctoral education in UCI's Department of Family Medicine. "Improving the teaching skills of residents is critical. Residents teach their trainees how to diagnose and treat patients. They model communication skills and many other professional attributes, so they have a huge impact on America's future doctors."

For the study, the researchers recruited 62 second-year residents from UCI Medical Center. Of these residents, 33 were randomly assigned to complete a "residents-as-teachers" program. Over six months, these residents completed 13 hours of special practice and training designed to improve their teaching and communication skills with students.

Before and after the training, all of the residents were given a teaching examination to evaluate their performance. When rated on teaching effectiveness, residents who received the training scored 28.5 percent higher than residents who did not receive the training, a statistically significant difference.

The twice-monthly, small-group sessions were designed to incorporate the best published evidence on teaching skills development for faculty and resident

Contact: Tom Vasich
University of California - Irvine

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