• Set agenda
  • Set roles

Setting the agenda helps to clarify expectations. Take a minute to do this before you start to save time and frustration later.

  • What needs to be achieved?
  • Are there time limitations? eg. meetings, patient numbers
  • What can be expected? eg. roles, feedback
  • What is the learner’s perspective?

“So, today we will/we will not/we need to…”
“Is there anything in particular you would like to cover today?”
“If possible, I would like to…”

People tend to fall into certain roles based on their position unless we are proactive in discussing what we want them to do, or what we would like to do ourselves.

Set roles at the start of the round, or rotate patient-by-patient.

  • Who leads? Who examines? Who scribes?
  • Is someone taking care of “house-keeping”?
    • medications, fluids, contingency plans…
  • Intentional modelling gives others, such as students, a sense of purpose:

How about you watch…/listen to how we…/tell me at the end of the round one thing you learned today.”

tab 1

  • Target and Teach


A lot of time can be wasted teaching learners what they already know. Target teaching to learner needs where possible.

  • Ask questions, then build on what they know.
  • Decide to focus on one level of learner at a time eg. registrar, resident, student
  • Teach “up the ladder” - moving to the next level of learner when knowledge is exhausted
  • Use peer teaching - support one learner to teach another.


Have in your hands a few effective teaching strategies to use when time is limited. Select the links below for details and video examples of 3 different strategies:

tab 2

  • Inspect and reflect

Time will not allow this for every patient, or on every day, but regular opportunities for brief reflection will help learning accumulate over time.

  • Inspect and reflect on clinical encounters with the team to allow teaching and learning beyond clinical facts...eg. communication, uncertainty, decision-making, rapport.

“How do you think that went?”
“I thought that was a difficult conversation, I think…”
“I noticed…”
“I was wondering why…”

  • Inspect and reflect on others to provide brief, focused feedback.
  • Prompt others for feedback on yourself. “Could you suggest anything I should have done differently?”

tab 3

  • Close the clinical
  • Close the learning

Provide closure to the overall round, and to each clinical encounter.

  • Pause to check understanding
    • Medical team, nurses, other staff, patient & family
    • Write key points on the communication board (if available)
    • Does the patient know the plan for the day and when they can expect to see you next?
  • Seek clarification. Ask what is understood.

“Can you tell me what you understand our plan is today?”

Be explicit about learning and education

  • Reflect on what you learnt. “The lesson for me today was…”
  • Encourage others to reflect on their learning. “What did we cover today which was new for you?”
  • Label the learning so it is not missed. “They key lesson here is…” “There are 3 things I want you to take away from today…”
  • If you allocate or are allocated a topic or task after the round, make sure you follow up next time, otherwise the value of this is lost.

tab 4