(or, a STITCCH in nine, saves time)
The purpose of STITCCH is to bridge final year students into internship by acquainting them with the practical aspects of their work. If in one hour you can teach someone to chart insulin, you doing something STITCCH would be proud of. If in one hour you teach someone half of the Kreb’s Cycle, we’d ask you to try something new.
PowerPoint is the devil: it is overused in teaching, and is rarely necessary. It is a crutch for lecturers, and it makes the teaching non-interactive and boring. PowerPoint should be used very sparingly, and only in circumstances where you need a visual representation. Anatomy and highlighting the appearance of particular conditions are rare examples of when a PowerPoint is useful. If your PowerPoint contains no pictures which are essential to the teaching, consider a conversation, a tutorial or work students throughout a handout.
Watching a lecture for an hour is rarely fun. Neither is a 3 hour PBL session. Use PowerPoint sparingly, visit the wards, try a problem case, and let students practise on real charts. Variety is the spice of life.
Get a teammate! Presenting a session with a fellow doctor not only makes the presentation less stressful you can always involve each other when you get stuck, need a perspective or need to spur on some conversation.
You are not a consultant. This is a good thing. Consultants are important to medical students because their knowledge in their chosen field is often unrivalled. However such expertise comes at a cost of relatability and approachability. You are only a few years ahead of medical students and you can use this to your advantage. Be friendly! Make it easy for them to ask questions! Your job is to prepare medical students for internship – and offering them a warm and safe place to learn is a rare haven for them to admit gaps in their knowledge.
Anything more than an uninterrupted hour is too long. Be liberal with breaks if you are planning a longer session. Everyone with thank you for it, and if they are rested, well fed and toileted, the medical students will pay far more attention to what you have to say.
Don’t stress over the preparation, that is why we are here! Familiarise yourself with the key learning points and make sure you understand what you will be discussing. Do not spend hours researching. It is stressful and makes you less likely to engage with the students. Think about it: if you don’t already know about the topic in your junior years as a doctor, do you think the medical students will need to know about it themselves?
When teaching, keep in the back of the mind how you are progressing. Are there sections which people get engaged with? Are there other sections which people find too complex or uninteresting. Make a note of this for later, and of course let us know as well.
Have fun. If you are enjoying teaching, chances are the medical students will engage enough to enjoy it too. Enthusiasm is contagious.