My second week in Guyana started with the arrival of three more CAS IEF volunteers – Drs. Joel Hamstra, Senthil Thiyagarajan, and Anne Wong. We met with the CEO of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Mr. Lewis, and had a great discussion about faculty development and the broader, “non-medical expert” roles of physicians and nurses within the hospital. Monday evening Dr. Wong gave a talk about mentorship. It was clear from the comments and questions afterwards that the junior residents and doctors are hungry for mentorship in their careers and also that the senior doctors in the group don’t feel equipped with the time or knowledge to be a mentor.
We spent the rest of the week teaching the Inspire Through Clinical Teaching course. This course began as an international collaboration between five anesthesiologists in Canada (myself, Duncan McLuckie, Dylan Bould), United Kingdom (Sonia Akrimi), and South Africa (Dean Nolte) and is now supported by the WFSA and the Society of Anesthesiologists of Zambia. It’s a four-day course with five workshops covering lesson planning, small and large group teaching, simulation, and teaching in the clinical environment.
We were lucky to meet a group of thirty-three talented, passionate, energetic, and hardworking doctors and nurses from Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Anesthesia, Pediatrics, General Surgery, and Orthopedics. We had interesting, thought provoking, and sometimes very spirted (!!!), discussions about managing challenging learners, ways of giving feedback, the role of the learner in the clinical environment, and much, much more. This was a group of teachers and educators facing the same challenges we face at home: how to achieve a balance between service and education, finding time to teach during a busy clinical practice, teaching while still providing patient centred care. It was really exciting for us, as facilitators of the course, to provide the opportunity for participants to come together and talk to each other about their struggles, share strategies, and learn from each other.
As the week went on our participants had the chance to practice some of their skills by delivering a small and a large group teaching session. We learnt so many things! How to properly wash a cat, how to cook the perfect omelette, and the proper way to fold laundry to name just a few.
On the last day groups wrote and ran simulation scenarios. The Obstetrician/Gynecologists, Emergency Medicine doctors, and Pediatricians at GPHC are already running regular in situ simulation in their own departments. “Sim Day” gave them some new ideas on how to plan, conduct, and debrief a scenario. It also sparked the interest of some of the other departments who hadn’t been exposed to simulation before. I even heard hallway chit chat about a combined ER/Ortho ATLS simulation.
The course ends with each participant sharing something they’ve learnt that they will take back to their workplace. It’s always my favourite part of the course and this time was no exception. There was a lot of excitement, energy, and momentum within the group and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.
The four of us ended our week with an invitation to the Anesthesia and Critical Care New Year’s party. It was a great chance to spend some time with new friends.