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Seven Teaching Tips

Orthopaedic surgeons are provided with opportunities to teach and learn practically every day. Teaching fuels the drive to increase our knowledge base about a subject so to more thoroughly impart lessons learned. Educating colleagues, patients, and ourselves is an obligation and a privilege. The educational process can nurture relationships as the learner becomes aware of the time, effort, and patience required to optimize the process. A great teacher stimulates the learner to seek more information.

Teaching our colleagues helps them become more knowledgeable about what we do and brings about awareness of certain diagnoses, techniques, and procedures. The quality of patient care and safety are improved when our colleagues understand such critical information. In addition, patient education is a key component to get the outcomes that we expect. An educated patient who understands his injuries, treatments, potential risks, and expected results will likely be a compliant patient.

As we teach, we should remember the seven principles of education1 summarized here:

Needs based – tailor your teaching to the learner

Motivates to learn – challenge the learner to seek further information

Relevant – keep your teaching focused on the topic

Interactive – allow the learner to be involved in the process

Provides feedback – allow the learner to demonstrate what was learned and then discuss performance

Promotes reflection – allow the learner to reflect on the topic

Leads to verifiable outcomes – teach so that the learner improves

Milton L. (Chip) Routt, Jr., MD
Dr. Andrew R. Burgess Professor and Endowed Chair
University of Texas Houston McGovern Medical School
Houston, Texas
chiproutt@gmail.com

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1 Adapted from the AO Foundation. https://www.aofoundation.org/Structure/the-ao-foundation/organization/education/organization/Pages/Curriculum-Development.aspx. Accessed January 18, 2017.


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