The Benefits of Direct Observation

When planning clinical rotations, schedule regular time for patient visits where you can directly observe how the learner works through a patient encounter.Direct observationduring a patient visit provides you with the data you need to give the learner formative feedback immediately following the encounter and much more meaningful & specific observations on your final evaluation forms.

If the learner is interviewing the patient, pay attention to the learner’s body language and speaking style. If the learner is taking a history, note the frequency with which the learner makes eye contact with the patient, and how much time they are looking at the computer screen. Observe how the learner builds rapport with the patient, and take note of how learner has progressed in this from visit to visit. Lastly, offer your insights into the overall organization of the physical exam. The quality of each of these aspects of the patient visit will benefit from the insights your receive through direct observation.

More About Patient Visits

Teaching Physician has many pages on teaching in the presence of patients in both the Precepting Principles section and the What to Teach section, including: