Clinical rotations are a vital part of experiential learning during medical education, providing students with the opportunity to assess health and disease with actual patients while beginning their own professional formation. Preceptors remain at the center of creating a meaningful, effective educational experience during clinical rotations.
However, clinical preceptors have a difficult job that has only become more challenging — both at traditional academic health centers and at community teaching sites. The demands of non-clinical administrative work, the burdens of electronic medical records, decreased continuity with learners, and a disconnect with the larger mission of medical schools have all been cited as reasons for preceptor burnout. That’s where an asynchronous, comprehensive online learning platform like OnlineMedEd can provide much-needed support to clinical preceptors in their crucial role. In this blog post, we will explore how OnlineMedEd makes the job of a clinical preceptor easier, and how it enhances the teaching and learning experience for both preceptors and students.
1. Redesign rotation didactics using OnlineMedEd
One of the most significant challenges faced by clinical preceptors is the need to complement their students’ experiential learning with patients with educational materials that are high-quality and learner-centered, and that make best use of learners’ time — while also juggling their own clinical and non-clinical duties.
As these demands on clinical preceptors increase, many have turned to OnlineMedEd to support their rotations’ clinical didactics, replacing traditional in-person lectures with asynchronous assignments that prime learners for interactive, in-person, case-based presentations with their teams. OnlineMedEd offers a comprehensive basic sciences and clinical sciences curriculum, delivering content through interactive whiteboard video lectures, integrated digital notes, and multiple-choice challenge questions. In addition, our immersive, case-based learning platform, CaseX, guides students through scenarios that help them develop their clinical reasoning skills.
2. Align learning objectives and requirements
Clinical preceptors can often feel a disconnect between their own expertise in a given specialty and the breadth and depth of what a third- or fourth-year medical student is actually expected to know in terms of diseases, therapies, and management. How many preceptors actually pore over the rotation objectives, accreditation guidelines, and other formal educational materials published by their affiliated medical school?
OnlineMedEd provides a structured, well-organized curriculum, mapped to both LCME and COCA accreditation requirements, as well as USMLE and COMLEX content roadmaps. The curriculum offers a well-lit path for students to walk during their clinical rotations and creates a more efficient learning experience. The curriculum follows a logical progression, covering essential topics and building on foundational knowledge. The clear learning objectives help preceptors set expectations and plan in-person teaching sessions, and create uniformity between different clinical services and even different clinical teaching sites.
3. Efficient Time Management
Time management during rotations is crucial as both learners and preceptors must balance patient care responsibilities with educational obligations. As an asynchronous learning platform, OnlineMedEd was built for busy clinical rotations. Students can engage with the material at a time and place that works for them — either in or out of the hospital or clinic, in between patient visits, or at home or in their favorite study spot. Our digital note set provides just-in-time reviews that learners can view on their mobile devices to prepare for rounds or oral presentations. Preceptors can rely on OnlineMedEd to deliver foundational knowledge, thus freeing up their teaching time to focus on clinical skills, diagnostic reasoning, and patient management.
4. Personalized Learning and Self-Assessment
Clinical rotations can be bumpy roads for students, littered with potholes and false tracks. OnlineMedEd smooths the path in two ways: first, by complementing students’ learning by reinforcing key concepts for diseases that they’re encountering on rotations; and second, by supplementing learning by giving students exposure to disease processes they may not be seeing in the real world — whether because of the rarity of a given disease, seasonality of disease, or because of the characteristics of the clinical service they’re on.
OnlineMedEd recognizes the importance of personalized learning and self-assessment, and allows students to self-direct to the lessons that are most important on any given day. For more formal direction, clerkship directors or preceptors can assign specific lessons based on local needs, allowing preceptors to address knowledge gaps and provide targeted learning enhancing the overall rotation experience. Moreover, OnlineMedEd is trusted by students to prepare for their end of rotation exams — so rather than delegate test preparation to clinicians, preceptors can rely on OnlineMedEd to free up their time for valuable mentorship, professional formation, and feedback.
5. Community and Collaboration
Creating a sense of community among educators can improve teaching models, reduce workload, and fight stress and burnout. OnlineMedEd continues to build its community of educators and partner institutions, connecting educators to each other through our Institutional Success Team. The Institutional Success Team is continually building relationships through institutional partnership reviews, workshops and webinars, conference meetups, and online communities of practice. When your school decides to partner with OnlineMedEd, you become part of this community, helping to drive health professions education forward.
Clinical rotations are a critical phase of medical education, connecting learners to their patients as they begin their professional formation. OnlineMedEd supports clinical preceptors by providing a comprehensive, asynchronous learning platform that was purpose-built with the learner’s success in mind. By offering high-quality educational resources, a structured curriculum, efficient time management tools, personalized learning opportunities, and a supportive community of practice, OnlineMedEd empowers preceptors to deliver exceptional teaching experiences. With OnlineMedEd, clinical preceptors can focus on mentorship, individualized guidance, and nurturing the next generation of health care professionals.