Clinical education is a part of a student’s academic program to learn how to apply the skills learned in the classroom and transition those techniques to a clinical setting. Students are typically paired up with a clinical instructor to help guide the education experience. The student becomes the mentee, and the clinical instructor assumes the role of, mentor. Perhaps the definitive role in this professional relationship needs to be further examined to demonstrate how this educational experience can be even more impactful than initially realized.
Students may have different learning styles, while clinical instructors may have different teaching styles. It is important to recognize varying preferences and learn how to create a shared decision process on how to enhance the education experience.
Personally, I feel these learning/teaching preferences should be identified early in the experience, so both individuals can benefit from the entirety of the clinical experience. Below is a helpful way of learning how to guide this process:
The relationship between the student and the clinical instructor should be active and dynamic. There should be continuous dialogue to ensure there is active engagement.
From my past experiences, I have found mentoring a student can really be a rewarding experience. Not only are you helping the individual development of the student but learning how adapt and refine your own teaching style. This is an opportunity for the mentor to develop leadership and interpersonal communication skills.
Also, students are extremely smart and have a very in-depth knowledge base. It is important for mentors to be humble and opened minded to new research and information to help guide clinical decision making. We need to learn how to treat students as colleagues and professionals. We need to remove unnecessary barriers and allow for an organic learning environment.
A student may eventually become the teacher.
However, perhaps the opposite can also be true.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT