Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Intentional Modeling Process to Teach Professional Behavior: Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors

Introduction:
In this article, the author describes an innovative approach to role modeling called the Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors (SCOOP) used to teach medical students professionalism and communication skills during their clinical training. This method is innovative because it reverses the traditional direction of structured observations.

Summary:
The author argues that on a personal and collegial level, professionalism is reflected when physicians practice integrity, honesty, accountability, respect for the expertise of others, self-reflection motivated by a drive toward self-improvement, and awareness of their own limitations. Although medical school report some formal training in professionalism such as isolated didactic presentations during preclinical courses, to courses integrated throughout the entire medical school curriculum, the "informal" and "hidden"curriculum may exert more influence than the formal curriculum in the moral and professional development
of students and residents.

Role modeling is an effective way to teach the "intangibles"; however, it must incorporate two key components: intentional modeling of important learning goals, and focused observation
on the part of the learner. Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors (SCOOP) provides an observation framework for students that reverses the roles of preceptors and learners in Structured Clinical Observations (SCO).

SCOOP is performed as follows:
The preceptor informs the student that there will be no questions about the content or clinical reasoning reflected in the interaction allowing the student to better focus onthe process, skills, and behaviors being intentionally modeled.

The student is given a check list of clinical skills and behaviors such as such as medical interview skills, relationship skills, and approaches to the physical examination to focus their observations. This framework also helps preceptors place their behaviors in a meaningful context for students.

After the observation commences, the preceptor will ask the student a series of questions to open discussion regarding their observations.

This process is beneficial to the preceptors because it improves their self monitoring and is beneficial to the students because they learn directly from faculty members who deal with uncertainty, deliver difficult information, or recognize areas for professional
improvement.

Conclusion:
This type of learning (role-modeling) can be applied to the field of intelligence because new analysts can benefit from observing the way "mentors" deal with uncertainty, deliver difficult information, or recognize areas for professional improvement. What the article did not mention; however, is outlining the way physicians think or how they diagnose. In order for this to be more effective for analysts, it would be important for mentors to explain their methods and thought processes via decision trees or an alternative tool in addition to displaying professional behavior.

Source:
Jones W, Hanson J, Longacre J. An Intentional Modeling Process to Teach Professional Behavior: Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors. Teaching & Learning in Medicine [serial online]. Summer2004 2004;16(3):264-269. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 6, 2010.

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