Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 12, Supplement 2, pp S34–S40 | Cite as

Teaching in the outpatient clinic

Practical tips
  • Steven R. McGee
  • David M. Irby
Teaching Skills


One of the strengths of ambulatory education is the opportunity for learners to interact with patients and for teachers to model what they enjoy most about medicine without the intervening technology common to hospital wards. When medical students from the graduating class of 1990 were asked in a national survey what would make the specially of internal medicine more attractive as a career, the most common suggestion was to increase the ambulatory experience and the connections with patients that such an experience provides.

More research is necessary to identify which teaching techniques are effective in the clinic.3 Meanwhile, this article makes practical suggestions based on what is known about effective teachers and their behaviors. When teachers ask questions, present general rules, and model interactions, they create brief opportunities for teaching in an otherwise hectic day. Not only do learners recall these general rules, they subsequently want to emulate the teacher's caring attitude toward patients and organized approach to problem solving. Asking questions and modeling interactions help teachers share themselves and their love of medicine with their learners.


Medical Student General Rule Ventricular Septal Defect Pyoderma Gangrenosum Clinical Teacher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven R. McGee
    • 1
  • David M. Irby
    • 2
  1. 1.Seattle Veterans Affairs Medical Center (111M)Seattle
  2. 2.Department of Medical Education (DMI)University of WashingtonSeattle

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