teaching in practice

yesterday I went to the first session in a course on teaching in practice for clinical education. It’s an HEA accredited course provided by the Clinical School to help tutors improve their teaching skills.

I’m the only non-medic taking part. (can you hear the intimidated wail??)

As well as introducing education/learning theory there’s the need to keep a reflective blog, the opportunity for peer review of a teaching session, and lots of encouragement to reflect and critique my practice. This can all lead to a HEA qualification – the first teaching qualification I’ve had the opportunity to get! Considering the amount of time that I spend teaching this is ridiculous, outrageous and wonderful in equal measure.

so brace yourselves – there will be lots more hummings and hawings over the next weeks and months.

But I’ve already had the opportunity to put some of the theory into practice.

This morning, I had a 2 hour session with 7 pre-registration pharmacists. Normally, this would have focused on literature searching in embase (using NHS ATHENS)  and a brief introduction to the medical library. I was told a couple of days beforehand that this group would be receiving some embase tuition from another source the day before my session – this prompted me to suggest that we could use the session for any discussion/clarification of searching, provide an introduction to local resources and support, and perhaps offer some “quiet time” for work on the audit that each pre-reg pharm. had to complete. This plan was agreed by the organiser of the group, and they duly turned up.

After intrducing myself, I started by acknowledging that they’d had a session on Embase and searching yesterday, so presented them with a range of choices about how they might like to spend the 2 hours:

  • refreshing embase searching
  • working on personal audit project
  • introduction to local resources
  • general information resources on the web

 Each member of the group said what they’d like to spend time on, we agreed a sequence of activity (intro to local resource, refresh embase, work on own project), and set off.

I started off with the introduction to local resources, and encouraged them to search on the library catalogue themselves as I demoed it.

When we moved on to the Embase section, I tried to establish just what they knew/remembered about searching – working through a search and asking them questions about what the difference between different approaches would mean (diff no. of hits for freetext vs MeSH), what the different buttons meant (explode vs major), asking to tell me how they’d limit a search. We clarified boolean logic (I drew on a flipchart, and they completed the venn diagram).

It gradually became clear that they’d been give instruction that they’d found confusing yesterday, and I think(!) I was able to resolve the confusion – illustrating how finding the MeSH term could be more streamlined. The group asked questions and discussed amongst themselves about the approach I was suggesting.

I found it awkward to feel that I was contradicting the instruction of a colleague (who I don’t know, but would appear to be quite senior), but my main concern was that the group were more confident with searching and were as well skilled as possible to get the information they needed.

The 2nd hour was spent on self-directed work on their own pr0ject, while I stayed on hand to address any questions or queries.

10mins before the end I reminded the group that beyond this session I’d be available to offer support if they wanted it.

shame that: there was no chance to assess their learning – I’d not used the pre- and post-training questionnaires that have been developed for use by NHS trainers in the East of England. Maybe next time.


2 Responses to teaching in practice

  1. Jenni says:

    Go Isla! I look forward to reading further in the coming weeks!

  2. Niamh says:

    Well done Isla, sounds like a great session! The best of luck with the course, looking forward to future posts about it.

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