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6 Tips for More Effective Resident Supervision

Julie McCoy, August 19, 2010

Faculty members should also be aware of when residents feel the most uncertain, such as during rapidly escalating situations when many decisions must be made in a compressed time frame, and let residents know that it's okay to call during those high-stress encounters, says Farnan. 

Tailor supervision. A one-size-fits-all approach does not apply to supervision, Arora says. Faculty members need to do some reconnaissance work up front and tailor their approach in order to provide appropriate supervision. Attending physicians should consider the learner's background and determine what his or her needs are. 

Make discussions worthwhile. Conversations should be a back-and-forth dialogue between the resident and attending physician. Because few attending physicians have formal training in being a supervisor, they may tend to overmanage and not cultivate the resident's clinical decision-making skills.

Focus on patient safety. Because residents can sometimes resent supervision, program leaders and attending physicians should focus on patient safety when supervising trainees. “We tell residents that part of learning about patient safety is working on a team, and part of working on a team is communicating with your attending and others on team,” Arora says.  

Julie McCoy is associate editor for the residency market. For more residency-related news, click here.

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