Working Together as a Team

Clinical Teaching Methods: There are a variety of teaching methods that may be applied in the clinical setting. The following methods are commonly used and may be modified as needed by preceptors. Below you will find some common teaching problems and practical tips for effective clinical teaching.

Pattern Recognition: This is cased-based teaching that is effective for straightforward common patient problems such as URI, UTI, Strep throat etc. This is method is especially helpful when there are time limitations and the case is straightforward.

  1. Student collects data from patient and chart
  2. Student presents chief complaint and most likely diagnosis
  3. Preceptor confirms diagnosis
  4. One or two teaching points can be used to affirm correct diagnosis or correct inaccurate diagnosis
  5. Focus on patient management issues after diagnosis confirmed
  6. Avoid “snap judgements”, student should complete a comprehensive evaluation of the patient
  7. Preceptor can question other components of the evaluation as needed


Model Problem Solving: This is another form of case based learning and often referred to as the “think aloud” method. In model problem-solving the preceptor demonstrates clinical problem-solving by reviewing differential diagnoses while verbally making the “case” for each diagnosis. The preceptor then verbally provides reasoning for diagnostic and treatment decisions. This method is especially useful when the case is too complex for the level of learner or when the preceptor may need consultation. This is a form of passive learning but a later discussion/review of the case can increase student participation.


One-Minute Preceptor: This method of teaching is student and patient centered, using questioning to determine the needs of both student/patient. Preceptors can assess the student’s critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and knowledge base with a few questions. This method also provides for immediate feedback.