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Faculty Development

To sum up

Involving patients in teaching and learning is an essential and powerful way of facilitating health professionals to acquire the skills, knowledge, behaviours and approaches that will enable them to become effective, caring and compassionate practitioners.

This module has introduced some of the key principles and ideas around involving patients in clinical teaching and learning, exploring some of the advantages and benefits for both learners and patients, some of the issues to take into consideration and some alternatives to enabling learning without involving ‘real’ patients in ‘real’ clinical contexts. Real involvement of patients (and carers) in teaching and learning means just that, involving patients in sharing in the learning process. We have seen that this can range from active involvement in lesson planning, assessment or leading teaching sessions, to a less active role, but one that nevertheless includes the patient in the learning process as a partner.

Perhaps one way of keeping this in mind is that effective involvement of patients in teaching is centred around good clinical practice which should be patient-focused and support self-care.

Finally, here are some points to keep in mind when planning teaching or learning with patients.

  • Always consider whether the learning objectives can be best achieved involving patients, whether this is in the patients’ best interests or whether the objectives can be achieved using some other method
  • Think about consent in terms of involvement and partnership
  • Introduce questioning before and after the encounter to stimulate awareness of your learners about how they might learn from or appreciate the patient’s input and involvement
  • Plan the session carefully so as to encourage patient (and carer) participation
  • Actively consider your own involvement in the learning session with patients, in light of the learner’s experience and competence and the patient’s place on their health journey
  • Remember that you are a role model to your learners as both a practitioner and as a teacher



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