Educating the mind
without educating the heart
is no education at all.
~ Aristotle

In 2017, UBC’s Faculty of Medicine released a 4-part series on Learners in Difficulty. It’s one of the best productions I’ve viewed on depicting the challenges and opportunities experienced by educators and learners in the clinical setting. I particularly like Part 3 when the preceptor seeks advice from a colleague. His colleague carefully probes him about the learner’s clinical performance deficits; she empathizes with his frustrations; and finally she attempts to guide him towards opening up a dialogue with his resident. More importantly, she repositions many of the struggles identified as opportunities to clarify assumptions; to discover the hidden potentials; and to build on the relationship through the ethical elements of care. These elements include attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and responsiveness. Learn more about the ethics of caring and medical education here.

For those interested in the rest of series, please see the links below to follow how the story evolves:

The Difficult Learner: Part 2 History Taking
The Difficult Learner: Part 3 Getting Advice
The Difficult Learner: Part 4 Making the Plan

I strongly encourage you to watch. If you’ve observed or experienced something similar, take notes as to what resonates and determine your communication strengths and areas for improvement.



Update! Bill Upward, our UBC Department of Family Practice Teaching & Learning Strategist, suggested a series of handouts that help supplement the videos showcased above. They include:

  • The Laval Benchmarks Scale for Family Medicine, that can help both teachers and learners get a more objective sense of whether the learner is off-track and, if so, in what core competencies;
  • The Lacasse Educational Diagnosis Wheel, that helps structure a conversation with a learner to reveal all the factors that may be influencing their difficulties such as Teaching Environment Issues or Teacher Issues; and,
  • The Learning Plan Template and Sample, to help structure a plan that would be most likely to help everyone involved in the situation (learner, teacher, Site Director, etc) clarify the specific areas of concern and concrete strategies to support improvement and assessment of these goals and objectives.

Thanks Bill for the additional support and resources!

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