Education Blog: Training the Next Generation of Physicians for Arizona and Beyond

At the University of Arizona Department of Medicine, our faculty physicians help educate more than 70 fellows in advanced training in subspecialties from cardiology to rheumatology, 130 internal medicine residents and about 450 medical students—these last largely through electives, clerkships and sub-internships in their third and fourth years.

Under the direction of Amy Sussman, MD, vice chair for education, the Department of Medicine is renewing and broadening its commitment to educational excellence. As an initial step in the process, we have launched an online teaching toolkit. This is part of a wider reorganization of Faculty and Staff Resources at our website.

Tools for Teaching

The “Tools for Teaching” toolkit includes a variety of techniques and reference materials for teaching in the clinical setting. Designed for use with learners at all levels—from incoming medical students to senior fellows—the toolkit gives an instructor flexibility to select the right “tool for the job at hand.”

Working with a medical student in the cardiac care unit (CCU)? The Auscultation Assistant features heart sounds, heart murmurs and breath sounds to improve physical diagnosis skills. Beyond the heart and lungs, learners can refer to The Stanford 25 to review exam maneuvers for common conditions—great advanced preparation for clinical work.

Rounding on the wards? The One Minute Preceptor is a simple technique for time-efficient teaching. No, really, one minute. Try it yourself and see. In addition to being quick, the One Minute Preceptor easily applies to different levels of learners. Faculty can use it with residents, and residents can use it to teach medical students or other residents.

The teaching toolkit features multiple resources on providing feedback to learners and learner assessment as well. Keep checking back, as we continue to update the site with interesting and useful elements as we find them.

Residents as Teachers

Resources for teaching are just the first steps in the process. The department also is expanding its “Residents as Teachers” program, championed by the Division of Inpatient Medicine’s Katharina Beeler, MD and Yuni Valenzuela, MD, a 2017-18 chief resident with the UA Internal Medicine Residency Program – Tucson Campus. This year, participating residents will receive instruction in presentation skills as well as feedback from departmental core and key faculty members (for current members, click here). A “Resident Educator” certificate program is planned to launch in the next academic year as well.

Educational leadership in the DoM has expanded with the creation of a departmental Education Committee to spearhead new initiatives. Using a “train-the-trainer” model, committee members, including several section heads, will lead implementation of educational projects and support faculty instructional development.

As we move forward with these and upcoming projects to emphasize the department’s educational mission, we welcome input from faculty, fellows, residents and students. Feel free to forward any ideas or comments to me at