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Teaching and learning
  1. A S Lockey
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, York District Hospital, Wigginton Road, York YO31 8HE, UK
  1. Dr Lockey (alockey{at}

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Throughout this article, there are a series of three activities designed to help give the reader some insight into their own teaching practice. To gain maximum benefit, they should be attempted before further reading of the article. By reflecting upon current practice, the reader will gain a greater understanding of the techniques and principles described.

The specialty of emergency medicine has a long association with teaching. By virtue of its role in the acute phase of patient management and the “hands on” nature of the specialty, emergency physicians often take a prominent role in both undergraduate and postgraduate education. In addition, emergency physicians form a significant proportion of the faculties for most of the short courses run by the Resuscitation Council (UK), Advanced Life Support Group and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Traditionally, doctors have had little training in how to teach properly. Senior clinicians may follow the bad example of how they were taught as juniors and as such perpetuate bad practice. The assumption that consultants and, in particular, “teaching hospital” consultants are natural teachers should no longer be accepted.

In the current climate of clinical governance, effective teaching is just as important as audit and risk management issues. In order to safeguard high standards of care, NHS Trusts should be able to demonstrate that their personnel can deliver high quality teaching.

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  • “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”, Adams (1907)