Clinical teacher program

Group shot of teachers that have completed the clinical teacher program

In 2016, a group of enthusiastic faculty members at Spectrum Health and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine identified a need for a comprehensive faculty development for clinical teachers. In following meetings, the Clinical Teacher Program was developed. Based on a needs-assessment of clinical faculty, resident physicians and medical students, a multi-day course was created. It consisted of seven modules, an Objective Structured Teaching Assessment and a refresher course.

Since its start in September 2017, 19 courses have been held with more than 151 attendees from varying medical fields. These medical specialties include internal medicine, pediatrics, hospitalists, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, emergency medicine, family medicine, neurology and many others.

The goal of the program is to empower physicians while refining their confidence in teaching, assessing and providing feedback to learners. When physicians are well equipped to teach, it impacts the learning environment in the clinical setting and benefits the patients, department, team-collaboration and the learning process for all.

Our Mission

Spectrum Health, in collaboration with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, will create a culture of academic excellence by cultivating professional and personal development in clinical faculty by:

  • Developing and enhancing physician teaching, assessment, and feedback skills.
  • Improving the learning environment at Spectrum Health.

Program Goals and Objectives

At the end of this program, participants will: 

  • Improve their ability to effectively teach in busy ambulatory settings.
  • Expand their knowledge to assess resident or medical student performance by direct observation.
  • Improve their ability to give constructive and effective feedback to learners.
  • Increase their capability to teach clinical procedures.
  • Practice evaluating residents using competency-based assessments.

Learn more about the program

Program Overview


The following seven modules are offered during on day one and two of our in-person day.

1. Individual Learning Plan (ILP) - What is the function of an ILP and how can you use it for you learners?
2a. One-Minute Preceptor - Improve your ability to teach effectively and efficiently in the busy ambulatory setting.
2b. Orientation to A new rotation - How to effectively set the tone and expectations for your rotation.
3. Observation and Assessment - Increase your competence in the direct observation of learners in the clinical setting; Tips and tricks for performing a reliable and valid assessment in the clinical setting.
4. Giving and Receiving Feedback - Explore why feedback giving is difficult we cover five-step method on how to provide feedback (Pendleton’s Rules)

5. Difficult Conversations - Share tips on difficult conversation, why are they difficult and 4-step model to guide you through these conversations
6. Clinical Skills Teaching - Explore how to teach different type skills in a four step process as explained in Peyton’s rules, and discuss how this can be adjusted to your teaching process.
7. Competency Based Assessment - How can you make your evaluations of Competencies and Milestone more effective for residents, Programs Directors and Clinical Competence Committees?

Objective Structured Teaching Evaluations

Objective Structured Teaching Evaluations have been used since the 1990s. They are a method to “evaluate the act of teaching, through systematic observation of a simulated activity” (p.194).1 This method is used because it “promotes rapid and rigorous assessment and that it enables practicing of specific skills in a realistic atmosphere with immediate feedback” (Filho p.195).1 Objective Structured Teaching Evaluations are used (a) to improve faculty members’ teaching skills, (b) to assess the effect of a teaching skills program on teaching performance, and (c) for assessment of teaching performance.2

An Objective Structured Teaching Evaluation consists of a simulated scenario of a teaching assignment. It involves standardized students, raters and hallway monitors.

A standardized student is a person who has been trained to portray a role of a student or patient. Our students are trained to give feedback on the learning-environment. The rater is the person sitting behind a one-way window or watches a video observing the teaching performance. The rating happens based on a checklist that lists behaviors, known as a behavior anchored rating scale.3 The hallway monitors will guide you to each station.

Throughout the Clinical Teacher Program, participants receive additional details to prepare for a successful participation in the Objective Structured Teaching Evaluation.

Booster Course

During the booster course we reflect on the video’s recordings from each participant, recorded during the Objective Structured Teaching Evaluation. Participants are asked to write a short reflection on each of their videos and on their Individual Learning Plan. These reflections will be analyzed and discussed. Further, we offer an additional module tailored to the specific wishes and/or needs in the group.

Learn more in the sample agendas for day one and two of the Clinical Teacher Program and for the booster course.


1. Fakhouri Filho SA, Nunes MD. Objective structured teaching examination (OSTE): an underused tool developed to assess clinical teaching skills. A narrative review of the literature. Sao Paulo Medical Journal. 2019(AHEAD).
2. Trowbridge RL, Snydman LK, Skolfield J, Hafler J, Bing-You RG. A systematic review of the use and effectiveness of the Objective Structured Teaching Encounter. Medical teacher. 2011 Nov 1;33(11):893-903.
3. Martin-Raugh M, Tannenbaum RJ, Tocci CM, Reese C. Behaviorally anchored rating scales: An application for evaluating teaching practice. Teaching and Teacher Education. 2016 Oct 1;59:414-9.

Additional Program Details


Participants will receive 13 CME hours for day one and two, and six CME hours for the booster course. All sessions must be attended to receive credit. After completion of all sessions including the Objective Structured Teaching Evaluations (OSTE), participants receive a Clinical Teacher Program Certificate.


All sessions are held at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI. Participants will also be involved in a half-day teaching simulation lab to practice skills in Michigan State University Secchia Center.

Eligibility and Cost

Eligibility is limited to physicians and Advanced Practice Providers involved in the education of residents and medical students at Spectrum Health. This course is not yet open for a broader audience. There is no cost to participate. If you have questions, please contact Paige Parmelee:

Get to know our teachers

Our teachers are a diverse group from a variety of backgrounds with unique experiences and interests. We look forward to getting to know you as well!

'What people are saying'

An analysis of evaluation of our Clinical Teacher Program shows that 98% of our clinical faculty at Spectrum Health recommend this course highly to their colleagues. Some open comments from our evaluations include:

  • The approach to the difficult conversation was great - not an easy task but such an important one. A key responsibility of being a teacher/preceptor is being able to have the difficult conversation.
  • The course helps you realize it's okay to only teach or observe or give feedback on portions of tasks/procedures.
  • We enjoyed the One-Minute-Preceptor, Pendleton rules, and learning variety of teaching techniques and skills to use in precepting in busy office.
  • It was a wonderful opportunity to practice the skills we were taught. This is so important as a clinical educator to ensure proper feedback and to make sure my skills are up to the best they can be for teaching.
  • This should be offered to all preceptors! I love that it is an offered benefit at no cost - shows SH/MSUs commitment to increase the quality of medical education.
  • Great breakdown of teaching methods. Provided a good chance for self-reflection about how I teach.
  • I liked the framework to structure how to teach and give feedback.
  • Learning a new and better approach to teaching that engages learners at a higher level. I loved how interactive it [Bedside Skills Teaching] was and having the opportunity to play the role of a learner, teacher and observer and learning new skills.

Upcoming Courses

Just-in-Time Teaching – February 8, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Alice Fornari, EdD, FAMEE, RDN, Zucker School of Medicine – Northwell Health
Learn to use a practical teaching approach that is readily integrated for daily clinical teaching.

Observation & Assessment – April 12, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Shan E Abbas, MD, FAES, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University
Increase your competence in the direct observation of learners in the clinical setting.

Teaching Communication & Professionalism - February 22, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Dennis Novack, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine
Enhance your skills that are foundational for compassionate communication and professional medical practice
Psychological Safety in the Learning Environment - April 26, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Luanne Wilkerson, Ed.D. & Carrie Barron, MD & Stephanie Corliss, MD Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Understand the key benefits of creating psychological safety while teaching.
Competency Based Assessment - March 8, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
TaLawnda Bragg, MD, FACP, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University
Practice evaluating residents and fellows with a competency-based assessment using the ACGME Milestones.
Motivation - May 10, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Bhawana Arora, MD, FAAP, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University
Stimulate key components of motivation, autonomy, relatedness, and competence.
See Something? Say Something! Gaining Comfort in Addressing Professionalism Concerns - March 22, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Kachur, PhD, FAMEE, Medical Education Development - Global Consulting
Learn how to approach professionalism concerns in your learners.
Questioning - May 24, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Lisa Lowery, MD, MPH, FACP, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University
Improve your teaching by asking questions that stimulates learners' understanding at different levels

Faculty Development Online Sign-up

February - May 2022


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