Fostering and Maintaining a Supportive Learning Environment

The Teaching Star Program—Much of the teaching at clinical sites is done through close interactions with residents, faculty and non-faculty instructors. During resident orientation, house staff are given a dedicated course in how to effectively teach medical students. Residents are encouraged to offer their support to students in learning the material and establish “rules of the road” for the provision of education and optimal patient care. Residents are also taught principles of sound education and the ways to provide effective feedback.

On a semiannual basis, Chairs of both preclinical and clinical departments are given an update by the Dean on issues of student mistreatment, and are made aware of their responsibility in education of Attending and resident staff on these issues. They are also reminded of their responsibility to deal with these issues if and when they occur in their department.

Tips to Ensure an Optimal Learning Environment

  • Be a Role Model: demonstrate respect in all of your relationships with peers, trainees and medical staff.
  • Set clear expectations for your learners.
  • Learn your learners’ names.
  • Be sensitive: avoid jokes about gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or size.
  • Never ask students to do tasks unrelated to patient care.
  • Reflect with students on team and patient interactions in order to appreciate how they may have perceived the interaction.
  • Be supportive of students should they come to you with concerns about mistreatment.
  • Be aware of your own stress and burnout, as this may result in unintentional mistreatment of others.