At the CMFT Medical Educators Conference on the 24th April Leena Patel and I ran a workshop on being an effective role model. Learning from role models is really important in medical education; it is happening in the workplace all the time. It is how students and trainees learn the application of our knowledge and skills, professionalism, and how we influence their career choices. Research indicates that being an effective role model is a set of skills that we can learn; yet few teacher training programme specifically teach these skills, which is why this workshop was developed.
We know that students and trainees consider as positive role models those who:
- Excel in their clinical knowledge and skills
- Through communication skills maintain good professional relationships
- Are effective and enthusiastic teachers
Learning from our role models is occurring all the time and is a complex process; but they learn “to talk, from talk” – by actively observing and reflecting on the behaviours, attitudes and skills of their trainers, and assimilating and adopting these. We can enhance this learning in the workplace by actively demonstrating our knowledge and skills and by enhancing learning by:
- Attention: Drawing attention to what we are doing; by emphasising it, providing a narrative, asking questions and by breaking down a complex skill
- Retention: Enhance retention by repetition, drawing parallels and by relating new to existing knowledge
- Production: Facilitating experience with an appropriate level of autonomy
- Motivation: Sharing what you get from it! Job satisfaction, financial gain, improved profile, position of influence etc etc.
Most of all, we inspire those around us by our enthusiasm and enjoyment for our work, and for our teaching and training!
Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine
Associate Director Postgraduate Medical Education
Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust