Teaching Critical Care

Published on 26/03/2015 by admin

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228 Teaching Critical Care

Teaching success should be measured in terms of student performance, not the activities of the teacher. Delivering a carefully organized PowerPoint presentation, supervising problem-based workshops, or providing bedside clinical tutorials does not mean one has taught. Unless the learner has acquired new cognitive or psychomotor skills, teaching has not occurred.1 An effective teacher takes responsibility for ensuring that students learn. If the teacher’s perception is that providing a lecture or any instructional methodology fulfills this obligation, then the teacher is serving as “the” educational resource. The focus of this model is on what the teacher did and not on what the learner learned.

Stritter described a different model, one focused on the student.1 In this model, the teacher assumes responsibility for the learner’s success and creates an environment conducive to learning by managing the educational resources. The teacher as a “manager” creates specific educational objectives, motivates students, utilizes various educational strategies, evaluates learning, and provides effective feedback to ensure the learner achieves all the educational objectives.1

The goal of this chapter is to provide a detailed description of each of these steps, from creating educational objectives to providing feedback, so the teacher can apply the concepts, whether organizing and presenting a 1-hour lecture, a 1-day workshop, a 1-month elective, or a 1-year curriculum.

image Creating Educational Objectives

Educational objectives outline the skills and behaviors the student, resident, or fellow will be able to demonstrate after the teacher has completed a lecture, daily bedside instruction, 1-month elective, or fellowship training. Objectives should be developed for every instructional activity because they are a road map. They guide the teacher in developing an appropriate curriculum, they set unambiguous expectations for the learner, and they serve as a reference for evaluation and feedback.2,3

Developing educational objectives involves three steps.2,3 First, using action verbs (e.g., defines, explains, demonstrates, identifies, summarizes, evaluates), the instructor describes a specific behavior the learner must perform to show achievement of the objective. An objective such as “teaches concepts of airway management” is not adequate because it defines what the teacher is doing and does not clearly describe what the learner should be demonstrating. Therefore, it neither serves as a road map for the teacher or the student, nor does it identify a clear behavior the teacher can evaluate.

Second, the teacher should describe the conditions under which the behaviors are to occur. For example “given a scenario using human simulation, the student will evaluate the airway and demonstrate effective bag-mask ventilation” or “given a patient with sleep apnea, the fellow will outline a plan for management of the difficult airway.” Finally, the criteria for acceptable performance should accompany the objective—that is, “bag-mask ventilation will be followed by successful laryngotracheal intubation within 30 seconds.”

Bloom and Krathwohl developed a classification of educational objectives to assess three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.4,5 Objectives related to acquisition of knowledge are described in the cognitive domain, objectives related to the demonstration of attitudes and values are described in the affective domain, and objectives related to the acquisition of skills are described in the psychomotor domain.4,5

When teaching students a specific clinical skill—for example, how to manage a patient with hypotension—the teacher must establish that the learner has first mastered the lower cognitive domains, knowledge, and comprehension. Learners will not be able to initiate an appropriate treatment for hypotension or evaluate effectiveness of treatment unless they can first list the causes of hypotension and describe the effect of preload on stroke volume. The teacher must be able to identify where learners are in the cognitive domain and help them reach the higher domains such as synthesis and judgment. To accomplish this, the teacher needs to develop educational objectives asking the student to predict the consequence of an intervention or evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. Table 228-1 lists the levels of Bloom’s cognitive domain with the examples of action verbs and provides examples of questions that could be asked during lecture or teaching rounds to force the learner to higher levels.

TABLE 228-1 Bloom’s Taxonomy for Cognitive Domain

Levels of Thinking —Thought Process Verbs Example
Knowledge—remembering by recall or recognition: requires memory only Define, list, recall. Who? What? Where? When? What are the determinants of stroke volume?
Comprehension—grasping the literal message; requires rephrasing or rewording Describe, compare, paraphrase, contrast, in your own words. Describe how a change in end-diastolic volume affects cardiac output.
Application—requires use or application of knowledge to reach an answer or solve a problem Write, demonstrate, show an example, apply, classify. Show how a fluid bolus can change systolic blood pressure.
Analysis—separate a complex whole into parts; identify motives or causes; determine the evidence Why? Identify, outline, break down, separate. Identify the factors that may contribute to abdominal surgery.
Synthesis—produce original communication, solve a problem (more than one possible answer) Write, design, predict, summarize, rewrite, develop, organize, rearrange. Given a patient with chest pain, bibasilar rales, jugular venous distention, and mottled extremities, develop a hypothesis for a decrease in systolic blood pressure.
Evaluation—make judgments, offer opinions; summarize physical findings to support successful therapy Judge, describe, appraise, justify, evaluate findings to support therapy. Justify the decision to treat the patient in the previous example with fluids and inotropes.

Educational objectives specifically related to critical care medicine training programs should be developed in accordance with the expectations outlined in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) program.6 In addition to listing the specific cognitive and motor skills that must be taught, the ACGME has also developed general core competencies that focus on patient care and not just knowledge acquisition.6 The six competencies include medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning, and systems-based practice.7 Examples of educational objectives for each competency are shown in Table 228-2.

TABLE 228-2 Educational Objectives for the ACGME General Competencies

image Motivating Students to Learn

The next step in teaching as a manager is to motivate the students to want to learn. To accomplish this they must first value what is being taught. For them to value a specific goal, they need to understand why it is necessary to incorporate the material into their clinical practice.8,9 The affective domain addresses educational objectives that relate to valuing and applying the material. The lowest level of the affective domain is receiving, in which the students attend lectures. Higher levels in the affective domain are concerned with getting the learner to incorporate material into daily patient care.5 These higher levels are accomplished by creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Table 228-3 lists specific activities the teacher can use to achieve higher levels in the affective domain. For example, the instructor should explain why certain educational goals have been chosen, why they are important, and what the consequences of failing to incorporate them are. Most importantly, the teacher needs to be aware of any inadvertent behaviors that may inhibit learning—providing negative feedback in front of others or demonstrating negative body language, for example. Because the teacher’s goal is to facilitate rather than inhibit learning, the teacher must recognize and change any behaviors that are barriers to learning.

TABLE 228-3 Teaching for Affective Learning

A particularly effective tool to get students not only to learn but also to apply their cognitive skills to patient care is to put them in “simulated crisis situations” and allow them to make clinical mistakes and then attempt to manage the consequences. For example, as part of the airway management course for critical care medicine fellows, they are given an opportunity to manage a simulated patient with respiratory distress. If they sedate and paralyze the mannequin before obtaining all equipment for intubations, fail to verify intravenous access for fluid resuscitation, and do not evaluate the airway for potential difficulty, they will then have to manage a hypotensive patient with inability to intubate. Making this mistake in a simulated environment and experiencing the potential complications in real time has proven successful in getting fellows to learn and incorporate their cognitive and motor skills into their patient care. Simulation technology is described later under learning experiences.

image Learning Experiences

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