The Resurgence of Bedside Teaching During the Pandemic

Authored by Danielle Miller of the Stanford School of Medicine, “Not Quite Bedside” Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic examines the teaching of bedside medicine in the midst of the pandemic. Although COVID-19 safety protocols reduce the time medical learners spend at the bedside, Miller says this essential piece of medical education is experiencing an unexpected resurgence.

“I have noticed that the true art of bedside teaching has once again become a focus, bringing patients and health care teams together,” explains Miller. She says prior to the pandemic, learners typically assessed and treated patients with direct supervision by faculty members but often missed direct observation of each patient encounter.  

Now telemedicine visits allow medical professionals to collectively listen to a patient’s history and develop a treatment plan. This enables students to model behavior and expertise, and, according to Miller, encourages collaboration among care teams, rather than simply having “siloed providers working in proximity to one another.”

We know that time at the bedside is vital to proper medical training and agree with Miller’s summary of its benefits: “Bedside teaching remains an important teaching modality for educators to teach physical examination skills and to model professionalism, effective communication and compassionate patient care.” We are excited to not only see a revival but also an evolution of bedside medicine during this unprecedented era in healthcare.

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