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A Multidisciplinary
Clinical Teaching Workshop

Brigitte L. Sicat, Pharm.D.
Department of Pharmacy

Project Background

Clinical teaching is a key component of health care provider education programs.  The Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, Medicine, and Allied Health all have experiential components integrated into their educational programs.  These experiences are designed to augment the students’ learning by providing direct patient care experiences in a clinical setting.  Many faculty on the medical campus serve as preceptors for these students to facilitate student learning in a variety of clinical settings. 

There are many challenges to teaching in the clinical setting.  Time limitations and the increasingly complex patient mix contribute significantly to the challenges of clinical teaching.  Clinicians who supervise students and residents have a limited amount of time to teach and patients may be angered by the delays imposed by teaching or confused about exactly who is responsible for their care.  In addition, faculty often have competing demands and must balance their clinical teaching with their classroom teaching, research, and service responsibilities.

Despite these challenges, the clinical arena is a rich learning environment where students are able to enhance their learning through direct patient care experiences.   Although there are numerous opportunities within and outside of VCU for faculty to learn about teaching and learning in the classroom, there are few opportunities to learn about how to improve clinical teaching. 

Project Objective

The objective of this project was to organize a workshop on teaching in the clinical setting.  The workshop sought to bring together faculty and clinical preceptors from the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, Medicine, and Allied Health on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.             

Program Evaluation

An evaluation tool was developed by a multidisciplinary planning committee to obtain participant feedback on the clinical teaching workshop.  This feedback will be used to help develop and implement future workshops on clinical teaching.


The grant funded a nationally known keynote speaker, Dr. Franklin Medio, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at the Medical University of South Carolina, to conduct the 6-hour one-day workshop as well advertisement for the workshop.  A multidisciplinary planning committee from the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, and Medicine was formed to determine learning objectives, advertising, evaluation, and execution of the workshop. 

The learning objectives of the workshop were:

  1. Describe the five principles of clinical learning and their application to clinical teaching activities
  2. Describe the Adult Learner model in clinical teaching activities
  3. Describe techniques to integrate students into a busy clinical practice
  4. Explain the differences between teaching and supervising
  5. Identify strategies to teach effectively while delivering patient care
  6. Describe the guidelines for using questions effectively to teach critical thinking skills and assess clinical judgment

Onsite and offsite preceptors from all the health science schools were invited to participate.  Registration was conducted on-line and continuing education credits were obtained for registrants from the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry.  One hundred eight-four (184) preceptors attended the workshop (nursing = 74, pharmacy = 51, dentistry = 18, other = 41).  There was broad representation from a variety of health fields. 

Evaluations of the workshop were overwhelmingly positive.  Many participants identified specific ways that their teaching will change as a result of what they learned.  Almost all participants noted that they would be interested in attending clinical teaching workshops in the future.  One hundred seventy six evaluations were collected (n=176) and compiled and will be forwarded to the VCU Center for Teaching Excellence to help develop and implement future workshops on clinical teaching.

This workshop has created interest among various departments and schools.  In fact, the School of Dentistry has invited the keynote speaker to lead a workshop for their faculty in December 2006.

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Last modified: June 20, 2013
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