Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Teaching Clinical Reasoning: How early is too early?

Although most medical schools have a pre-clerkship course dedicated to history taking, physical exam, and early patient exposure, clinical reasoning is rarely taught during the first years of medical school. Educators routinely wait until the more clinically focused clerkship to introduce and foster these skills. A recent national survey of clerkship directors found that most students enter clerkship with a “poor to fair” knowledge of clinical reasoning concepts. As a result, early clerkship students are left to merely observe the complex cognitive processes of more experienced clinicians that result in diagnostic and management decisions. Questions such as “How did you get to that?,” “How did you process all of that information so quickly?,” and “How did you know which questions to ask?” are common.

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Building New #MedEd Communities with Old Friends

It started with a Twitter post. To celebrate #HMICommunity Day, Holly Gooding (Educators ’10) shared a photo from the rooftop of the Grady Hospital parking deck in downtown Atlanta, the gold dome of the State Capitol building gleaming in the background on a sweltering summer day. Lynda Goodfellow (Educators ’16) recognized that backdrop as the same one from her own office and reached out to Holly. Over coffee in the Georgia State University (GSU) Student Center, where she serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Lynda updated her former project group facilitator on the success of her HMI project. Lynda had just welcomed her inaugural class of interprofessional faculty into the Lewis College Teacher Scholar Academy at GSU. Wait a minute, thought Holly. That sounds similar to Linda Lewin’s (Educators ’97) Woodruff Health Educators Academy at Emory University, Holly’s new academic home. Could it be that both Linda and Lynda were transforming interprofessional education in Atlanta using Harvard Macy Institute principles?

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#MedEdPearl January 2020: About Learner Feedback: The Gift No One Likes to Give but Really Should

Let’s be honest about one thing: No one likes giving constructive feedback to learners. Even with the brightest learners, the process can be quite daunting and, at times, repetitive. Yet, we find ourselves seeking support from colleagues and other experts in the field to find fresh ways to deliver effective feedback. This #MedEdPearls highlights the SPIKES protocol as a tool for learner feedback. In 2011, the tool was adapted by Thomas and Arnold to identify parallels between giving feedback and delivering bad news to patients. Additionally, they found the structure of the SPIKES protocol served as a buttress of support for medical professionals newer to the role of instructor. Consider the use of SPIKES the next time you deliver feedback:

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Mastering 2020

I was recently asked by a colleague: “What are your goals for 2020?” As I began to write down the long list of possibilities and to articulate my answer, I started thinking about the question a little more deeply. What is a goal? And, do I really define myself by them?

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Virtual Communities of Practice in Health Professions Education

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

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