Our top priority at the University of Chicago Pediatric Residency is to provide optimal education while providing excellent patient care. We strive to provide our residents with strong learning experiences, through daily conferences and bedside teaching, as well as the skills to teach and the opportunity to use those skills. The residents in our program are as much teachers as they are learners, and our residents, fellows, and faculty in the department share a commitment to teaching both others and ourselves. It’s no wonder that the majority of our residents end up in academic careers or in practices that work with students and residents.
Monday through Friday our educational day starts with the Chief Resident-led Morning Report. A favorite for years, we use patient-centered case discussions to help residents develop their clinical thinking and their application of medical knowledge to patient care. The speaker introduces the patient as though the residents are meeting them in the clinic, ER, etc., and by giving the residents an opportunity to progress through process of taking a history, building a differential diagnosis, and selecting appropriate tests and management, they are able to create a concrete experience they can use as an anchor to apply the knowledge in the future.
Four days a week, our residents attend Noon Conference during which a faculty member, fellow, visiting lecturer, or Chief Resident discusses topics from our core pediatric curriculum. This is a wonderful opportunity for our residents to interact as a group with our expert faculty, and the curriculum draws from both the ACGME and the ABP core topics.
On Thursdays, residents attend Pediatric Grand Rounds where they meet national and international experts presenting on a range of topics from basic science and translational research to cutting edge clinical advances, to controversial topics in health policy and medical ethics.
All conferences are required for the residents, except on select rotations, and this time is protected for learning.
The heart of the residents’ learning comes from daily clinical teaching on the various rotations. For the inpatient rotations, including the intensive care rotations, daily teaching rounds provide dedicated time for faculty and fellows to collaborate with the residents to assure optimal care for our patients. These rounds focus on patient care decisions including the physiology and rationale behind making those decisions. Though the faculty are present and contribute significantly in all rounds, our senior residents are encouraged to be the active leaders on the teams.
In collaboration with the UC Sim Center our residents have numerous opportunities to hone their clinical skills in a safe and supportive environment. From technical skills practice of common procedures (IV placement, lumbar puncture), to resuscitation skills training in our NRP and PALS courses, to running “mock codes” in actual patient care areas throughout the hospital, our residents receive well rounded rigorous training in managing acutely ill and injured children so that they can be confident of their skills with actual patients.
Started in 2005, the Residents-Are-Teachers curriculum aims to continually expose the residents to teaching skills and opportunities for practice throughout their three years. Through a longitudinal, progressive curriculum, the residents gain a foundation in educational excellence.
Beginning in the intern year, there are three interactive sessions that introduce core practice topics in medical education: Giving Feedback, The One-Minute Preceptor, and Teaching at the Bedside. These sessions offer opportunities for skills practice as well as reflection on their own experiences. In the winter of the intern year, the interns complete Observed Structured Teaching Encounters (OSTEs), where interns engage with standardized learners and receive feedback from faculty facilitators. During transition retreats before the 2nd and 3rd years, a portion of the day is spent on teaching skills, which include Role Modeling as a Teaching Tool, Learning Climate and Expectation Setting, and Leadership and Team Management Skills. These sessions are interactive and skills-practice based.
Finally, for those who are interested in further developing the skills to be successful as an academic educator, we offer a two-week intensive Teaching Elective, an opportunity to apply for the GME track of the MERITS program in medical education, and an opportunity to obtain an MHPE degree through our Scholarship Track in Medical Education.
Resident-Led Education Sessions
With all the emphasis on teaching skills, it’s imperative that our residents have the opportunity to practice some of the non-clinical methods of teaching. Each resident must present a Morning Report during their 2nd year, and a Clinical Pathology Conference (CPC) in their 3rd year. For the Morning Reports they are matched with a faculty or chief resident mentor who helps them set goals for the session, goals for themselves, and assists them in creating a case-based, interactive session. The CPC offers residents a chance to deliver a more traditional didactic that focuses on the pathophysiology of disease.
Third-year residents also have the opportunity to provide structured bedside teaching and didactic sessions for medical students while on the Float rotation.
Resident Education Council (REC)
The process by which we improve our residency program relies heavily on the input and voice of the residents themselves. In addition to regular house staff meetings and an open-door culture shared by our Chief Residents and Program Director, the Resident Education Council offers a formal mechanism for resident involvement in program improvement. Peer-elected representatives from each class meet monthly with the program leadership to address any concerns, implement any innovations, and discuss ideas. This is where most of the great changes to the residency start.
Recent projects from REC include the creation of improved note templates to increase efficiency, major restructuring of rotations to improve resident learning and work experiences, and the creation of a Float rotation for senior residents.