A Novel Virtual Emergency Medicine Residents-as-Teachers (RAT) Curriculum
The Residents-as-Teachers (RAT) curriculum is designed for emergency medicine (EM) residents of all years (PGY1-4).
Length of Curriculum:
The curriculum is divided into three hour-long sessions. The entire curriculum can be run as a single block or can be spread out over multiple days.
The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) both require residents to receive training in teaching medical students and junior residents. They also require opportunities for residents to participate in teaching and be assessed on their effectiveness in this role.1,2However, the ACGME does not provide guidance or require formal curricula on molding residents into effective teachers. Many programs and institutions have incorporated RAT curricula as a solution to provide residents with the skills necessary to create an excellent educational environment for junior learners. These curricula have been embraced by many specialties, including Emergency Medicine (EM).3-6 The effectiveness of the teaching received during the clinical rotations has important long-term effects on medical students, and may impact their future career choices in medicine.6
The COVID-19 pandemic has also required education institutions to vastly alter the delivery of their didactics, including moving to a virtual platform. A completely online format has many benefits that extend beyond the pandemic, such as easier access to participants (including those off-service or at remote sites), no requirement for a physical space, and easier recording of sessions.
To provide residents with an introduction to teaching techniques that can be utilized on-shift to facilitate an excellent educational experience for junior learners while balancing the resident’s patient care responsibilities.
The educational strategies used in this curriculum include PowerPoint (Redmond, WA) slideshows given by a live presenter via the telecommunications platform Zoom (San Jose, CA), viewing of videos demonstrating curriculum topics, simulation-based learning through role-play, and small-group discussions including simulation debriefing.
A survey was distributed to residents before and following the completion of the three training sessions to assess resident satisfaction with the delivery of the content and comfort with the teaching tools discussed. Suggestions on potential improvements were also assessed to inform changes to future iterations of the curriculum. Comfort regarding the included teaching tools was assessed using a five-point Likert scale. After completion of the curriculum, rotating medical students were provided with an evaluation form to assess if residents were teaching using the techniques from the course.
Both the pre-curriculum and post-curriculum surveys had a response rate of 61.1%. Student’s t-test showed a statistically significant increase in mean resident comfort level with the teaching strategies post-curriculum (3.05 to 3.83, p < 0.01). Medical student evaluations have shown, overall, that the majority of residents are utilizing the education techniques on-shift. There were no significant differences found in medical student perception of resident use of taught skills between those who had and had not attended the sessions. However, all but one assessed skill showed higher utilization in those who had attended the correlating session.
The educational content was effective in improving the residents’ comfort with the teaching strategies presented, and residents are utilizing these techniques on-shift. Through implementation, we discovered that presenting a curriculum over video conferencing required additional administrative support to help ensure efficacy of break-out groups. Based on resident feedback after the first session, multiple changes were made, including providing residents with hand-out references for use during the role-playing sessions. The success of this curriculum demonstrated the feasibility and utility of running a RAT curriculum entirely in a virtual format.
Residents-as-teachers, distance learning, role-playing, virtual curriculum, video conferencing, One Minute Preceptor, feedback, “What if?” game, Aunt Minnie, SPIT, activated demonstration, self-directed teaching tools, teaching scripts, Post-It Pearls.