OSTEs slow down, find new focus

Internal Medicine residents learn a variety of skills at Iowa that make them highly sought after as high-caliber clinicians. But what makes them outstanding team members and leaders wherever they go is their refined ability to pass on what they know to others. Effectively teaching others to do what they can forms the core of what has become the Teaching Skills Curriculum. Designed by Jane Rowat, MS, Educational Development Director, and the rest of the Resident Teaching Skills committee, the program’s goal is to teach residents practical tips to efficiently deliver formative feedback to their learners, while also meeting the needs of the patient.

The longitudinal curriculum incorporates elements like”The One-Minute Preceptor,” introducing unfamiliar interns to it, refining its use by second-year residents, and helping third-year residents instruct others in how to use it during the Objective Structured Teaching Evaluation (OSTE). A recent presentation by M4 medical student Mala Sharma at SGIM shows how the OSTE is structured and the impact the assessment has on resident learners.

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The first year the OSTEs were conducted, they occurred en masse in the college’s clinical simulation suites, with multiple faculty and Chief Resident facilitators, much in the same way that the Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations occur for the incoming intern class. This year, organizers opted to use Y-weeks to run the OSTEs for residents. A number of advantages to this approach quickly revealed themselves, most notably fewer facilitators were needed at once and fewer spaces for the various trios of residents at work.

But another benefit was seen during the post-OSTE debrief when each weeks’ participants reconvened to discuss with the other groups. The smaller group allowed for greater participation and sharing of lessons learned while they were separated. Each week, residents discovered that, despite some artificiality of the exercise, skills like “active listening” or “teaching one lesson well rather than multiple ones” were either immediately improved on a second attempt or shown to be an area they would remember to focus on the next time they were in a real-world situation.

Special thanks to this year’s facilitators:
Lisa Antes, MD
Krista Johnson, MD
Jane Rowat, MS
M. Lee Sanders, MD, PhD
Jennifer Strouse, MD
Manish Suneja, MD
Katherine White, MD
Yana Zemkova, MD

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