Getting to Know Your Learner

Every new medical student that joins your practice brings his or her unique personal and professional experiences. You and your practice team can benefit from the insights of each student, but first you'll need to find out about his or her professional and personal background. You might think that you'll remember any details that came up in conversation, but it's often helpful to gather and write down introductory information.

You might find out that your learners have already shadowed a family physician, worked as a pharmacy tech before medical school, or taken a keen interest in public health disparities. With that knowledge, you can tailor the rotation experience to better suit individual interests and take advantage of existing strengths or skills. Learning personal details about your learners' hometowns, undergrad degrees, and hobbies will encourage a deeper relationship that can enhance a supportive learning environment.

One way to capture this information is to ask all new learners to fill out a simple profile form that highlights their backgrounds and interests. Consider asking each learner to fill out summary sheet with the following items: 

  • Name
  • School email address
  • Phone number
  • Hometown
  • Undergraduate information
    • School
    • Year of graduation
    • Majors and minors
  • Other work or educational information
  • Prior health care experiences
  • Interests and hobbies

Quick Tips

  • Pair the new profile sheet with a picture of the learner for an extra memory aid
  • Share this profile with your practice team as a way to welcome the learner to your clinic
  • Post the profile sheets for your current learners on a bulletin board in a shared office space
  • Keep the profile sheets on file in your records to use as a memory aid for writing letters of recommendation or references
  1. Young SE. Getting to Know Your New Medical Students. STFM Education Column. 2012. Accessed August 2, 2016.
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