The five-day course allowed visiting medical doctors to observe teaching in McGill-affiliated clinical sites  

From October 30 to November 3, 2023, the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) at McGill University welcomed nine physicians and three facilitators from teaching hospitals in Gifu, Japan, for a practicum course on clinical teaching.   

The five-day course, titled Teaching in the Clinical Setting, was jointly developed by the IHSE and the Medical Education Development Center (MEDC), within Gifu University’s Graduate School of Medicine.  

To date, 50 clinical teachers from Gifu have completed the course at the IHSE since it was first offered in 2014.  

The course is also the result of a longstanding partnership between the two institutions, which began in 2012 and has included active faculty exchanges, joint research activities and other collaborative work. 

Observations of clinical teaching and lively discussions 

Each of this year’s visiting participants was paired with a specialist in their discipline, who they accompanied and observed as they taught learners at the Montreal General Hospital and the Glen site of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).  

Participants also joined in-depth group discussions and presentations about clinical teaching, feedback and engaging students at the IHSE, as well as social activities with IHSE members throughout their stay.  

This year’s course was led by: 

  • Linda Snell, MD, MHPE, Associate Director (Community Engagement) at the IHSE and Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University,  
  • Joyce Pickering, MDCM, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate Member of the IHSE, and  
  • Takuya Saiki, MD, MHPE, PhD, Professor at Gifu University’s Graduate School of Medicine and Director of the MEDC.  

Awakening to importance of clinical teaching 

Almost 10 years after the course was developed, its impact on the teaching abilities of its participants has consistently been demonstrated in research. 

In 2019, an article in The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions highlighted the course’s incorporation of international experiences, on-site observation of a familiar specialty in an unfamiliar hospital setting and guided reflections as effective in learning about clinical teaching.  

Dr. Saiki thanked Dr. Snell and Dr. Pickering, observing that participants are “awakening to the importance of education and reaffirming how clinical education in the hospital is a driving force in attracting and motivating young learners.” 

He noted that after returning to Japan, past participants have advanced clinical education by sharing what they learned with their colleagues, which led to teaching reforms at their hospitals. The joint course has also been highlighted as a strength of the School of Medicine at Gifu University during accreditation processes, he added.  

Dr. Snell said: “At the IHSE, we are thrilled to host our colleagues from Gifu University for this course, held in person for the first time since pandemic restrictions were lifted.” 

“McGill is renowned globally for great teaching, especially in the clinical context. Our outstanding clinical teachers inspire learners and are role models for their peers,” she added. “In the past, visiting groups have returned to Japan with new skills to try in their own context.” 

Dr. Pickering called the program “a good lesson on how much impact a relatively simple educational activity can have”.  

She acknowledged the financial support of Gifu Consortium for Training and Securing Doctors for the course as a continuing professional development activity, which has “built a community of clinicians with interest and knowledge in medical education in Gifu.” 

Dr. Pickering also expressed gratitude for the input and support of Dr. Saiki and his colleagues at Gifu University, health sciences education experts at McGill, the administrative team at the IHSE, the clinicians who welcomed participants to their workplace, and the participants.