The Effect of a 13-Hour Curriculum to Improve Residents' Teaching Skills

A Randomized Trial

Resident physician teachers play a crucial role in medical education, yet few controlled studies have examined residents-as-teachers curricula or the effects of specific training interventions on teaching skills. From 2001-2002, a pilot trial conducted by Bringing Education and Service Together (BEST) found that 13 trained resident teachers taught better than untrained control residents. This study extended that one by enrolling 62 second-year residents in two more pilot trials. Residents were randomly assigned to a control group or an intervention group. The intervention comprised a 13-hour, six-month teaching skills curriculum. The subjects covered included:

  • leadership/role modeling,
  • orienting learners,
  • giving feedback,
  • bedside teaching,
  • teaching procedures,
  • inpatient teaching,
  • charts and giving lectures.

The study's primary outcome measure was a 3.5 hour teaching examination. A year after the program ended, 23 former participants were asked to attend individual semi-structured interviews to discuss any carryover effects of the training program. The study found that the residents-as-teachers curricula created a large and significant improvement in residents' teaching skills. Teaching scores in the intervention group improved 28.5 percent. Students in the intervention group also had more enthusiasm for teaching, during and after the residency, than students in the control group.