Residents have a critical role in the education of medical students and have a unique teaching relationship because of their close proximity in professional development and opportunities for direct supervision. Although there is emerging literature on ways to prepare residents to be effective teachers, there is a paucity of data on what medical students believe are the attributes of successful resident teachers.
We sought to define the qualities and teaching techniques that learners interested in internal medicine value in resident teachers.
We created and administered a resident-as-teacher traits survey to senior medical students from 6 medical schools attending a resident-facilitated clinical conference at McMaster University. The survey collected data on student preferences of techniques employed by resident teachers and qualities of a successful resident teacher.
Of 90 student participants, 80 (89%) responded. Respondents found the use of clinical examples (78%, 62 of 80) and repetition of core concepts (71%, 58 of 80) highly useful. In contrast, most respondents did not perceive giving feedback to residents, or receiving feedback from residents, was useful to their learning. With respect to resident qualities, respondents felt that a strong knowledge base (80%, 64 of 80) and tailoring teaching to the learner's level (83%, 66 of 80) was highly important. In contrast, high expectations on the part of resident supervisors were not valued.
This multicenter survey provides insight into the perceptions of medical students interested in internal medicine on the techniques and qualities that characterize successful resident teachers. The findings may be useful in the future development of resident-as-teacher curricula.