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EMS NOW: Clinical Education Strategies for Success

EMS NOW - a weekly highlight of emergency medical services

EMS NOW: Clinical Education Strategies for Success
By Matt Comer, EMTP

" order for the trainee to learn they must have timely positive and negative constructive feedback..."
The clinical educator faces many challenges day to day.  Let’s take a look at some of the big ones and some strategies for successful outcomes.  First and most obvious principle is that you must be able to teach during non protected clinical time.  Most of the time when you think of an educator you think of a classroom right?  Teaching during clinical time requires you to balance teaching with being the clinician who is responsible for your patient.  Effective clinical teaching also requires that the trainee have patient contact and make or be involved in making actual patient care decisions.  In addition, in order for the trainee to learn they must have timely positive and negative constructive feedback.  As we all know this may be challenging when the pagers are beeping and dispatch is calling.  Being an effective clinical educator can be a daunting task.  In order to succeed as clinical educators we must take a strategic approach.  Below are some effective and proven strategies for being an effective clinical educator.

  • Orientation:  You must orient the trainee to the process in which the shift / call will flow.  The trainee must know where they fit in to the process.  This will give them the freedom to learn without being worried about the logistics of the shift / call.
  • Expectations:  You must set clear expectations for the shift / call.  Expectations allow the trainee to know how they will be evaluated.   Expectations should be discussed at the beginning of the shift in order to set the tone and create a positive learning environment.  
  • Feedback:  Both positive reinforcement of correct behavior / skills & constructive feedback correcting incorrect / inappropriate behavior / skills.  Feedback should be given as soon as possible and be as specific as possible.  
  • Demonstration:  You must role model and even demonstrate the desired outcome.  Whether it be patient rapport / communication or the skill of immobilizing a patient you must show the trainee the correct / appropriate way.  Role modeling gives the trainee a clear picture of what they should do, how they should act, and what cleared EMT / Paramedic / Nurse looks like.

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