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Resident Boot Camp: Training the trainers to enrich learning

The phrase “boot camp” conjures up images of individuals crawling through mud, jumping over obstacles and climbing ropes. You think about an intensive training that takes people to the next level in their skill and confidence.

While the Boot Camp for Resident Teachers offers a much kinder and gentler environment than many of those focused on physical abilities, its goal is similar. It provides an intensive cross-disciplinary session teaching skills and creating opportunities to practice those skills to build resident teaching capacity at Schulich Medicine.

It is estimated that one third of a medical students’ knowledge is directly attributable to resident teaching – so the Boot Camp is a necessity that the School simply can’t do without.

The Boot Camp has been in existence since the fall of 2015, and is just one program that helped the Doctor of Medicine Program in moving the accreditation standard Preparation of resident and non-faculty instructors from non-compliant to compliant.   

Intensive workshops focused on medical education teaching practices are the focus for the two-day annual event. Subjects such as teaching in critical scenarios, teaching at the bedside, providing effective feedback, teaching in the moment, and orienting learners are just some of the topics covered through the workshops.

The sessions are taught by a team of renowned Schulich Medicine clinical educators from a broad range of programs including Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Neurology, Otolaryngology and Psychiatry.

There are some spin off benefits too as the Boot Camp provides a venue for residents who are equally passionate about medical education to meet each other, and it provides a venue for cross-disciplinary residents to meet and share experiences.

Thirty-six residents attend annually, and there is always a waiting list with other residents hoping to attend. The response from the past two years has been overwhelmingly positive. Pre Boot Camp assessments from the 2016 sessions show residents rating their confidence level in teaching at 47 per cent and post assessments rate that confidence at 92 per cent.

At the end of each training session, resident share some of their key takeaways. Learnings span the spectrum and include the importance of the use of scholarly search engines, the importance of taking time to get to know the learner to better optimize their learning; the important tone that a good orientation sets, and the fact that imposter syndrome is very real.

With such positive buzz stirring about the Boot Camp, the Postgraduate Medical Education Program was given a mandate to reach a greater number of residents with training opportunities. The result is a series of videos which leverage a unique approach and provide a humorous but educational training covering topics such as Orientation, Feedback and Teaching in the Moment.

Residents and faculty members participated in the making of the videos which will be posted online soon for all to access.

The combination of the Boot Camp and the videos is demonstrating a real shift in culture at the School with a commitment to increasing teacher training for residents. In keeping with this shift, an increasing number of postgraduate programs have also initiated resident teacher training in their departments furthering the reach of this essential training.

The next Boot Camp takes place in November 2017, and plans are underway to create more training videos as the School continues to approach training the trainer in innovative and effective ways.