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Acad Med. 1997 May;72(5):358-61.

Ambulatory teaching "lite": less clinic time, more educationally fulfilling.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA. ddarosa@nmh.org


Typically, the primary instructional method for ambulatory care education is direct interaction between a preceptor and a learner during a patient encounter. This paper describes instructional strategies teachers and learners can use in ambulatory care training that can occur before or after scheduled clinic hours, thus providing instruction without disrupting a preceptor's busy clinic. First, they describe how preceptors and clerkship or residency-program directors can orient learners prior to their arrival at assigned sites, so that learners are better prepared to assume their patient-care responsibilities. Then they discuss strategies for making use of various types of conferences and independent learning activities to enhance learners' clinical experiences. Conferences and independent study projects that occur before clinic hours can help learners bring a higher level of thinking and clinical sophistication to their role in the ambulatory care site; conferences and independent study activities that occur after clinic hours give learners an opportunity to reinforce and expand on what they have learned during clinic. In this way, learners' educational experiences are enhanced, the best use is made of preceptors' time and expertise, and clinic efficiency is not disrupted.

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