Sharon E. Sholiton, MD, Rush University, Chicago, Illinois
Background: Medicine is moving increasingly into the outpatient setting, and medical education is following. Students at our institution spend 30% of their Core clerkship time engaged in ambulatory experiences, often supervised by community preceptors who lack significant training in teaching techniques. Key attributes of effective clinical teachers have been identified and can be acquired by ambulatory teachers. (Bannister, Pediatrics, 2010) Challenges exist in providing faculty development (FD) to this diverse and decentralized group of physicians. A recent review of FD programs found that only 40% “welcomed more than one clinical discipline” (BEME, Medical Teacher, 2006). Program Description: Clerkship directors, with support from the medical college, designed a FD program to meet the needs of ambulatory preceptors from multiple departments. The format selected was a half-day workshop at a central location. A needs assessment helped identify high priority content items. Themes for the first 2 years were: providing effective feedback and intergenerational communication. Multiple types of activities comprised each workshop, including small group skills sessions. Results: In 2009, 68 physicians attended. By 2010, this program attracted 82 physicians representing all 7 Core clerkships as well as community preceptors from the ambulatory M1/M2 program; 60% of participants were from off-site community practices. Approximately one quarter of attendees each year were pediatricians. The program was rated highly by participants (93% of items rated “4.0” or higher on 5 point scale). 71% of respondents to a six month follow up survey agreed they had changed their teaching style as a result of attending the program. Discussion: This novel interdepartmental program is significantly more successful than previous FD programs offered at our institution. Interdepartmental collaboration allowed sharing of resources for program development. Two key items enhanced its success: providing no-cost CME certification to participants, and adequate advance notification to community practitioners. This program has become an annual event. Challenges for the future include: maintaining novelty and relevance, targeting faculty with identified needs, and measuring direct impact on faculty skills. This model of interdepartmental FD may be useful for other institutions seeking to address the needs of their ambulatory preceptors.