Institute of Teaching and Learning

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Health Care Professionals

Welcome to Teaching Health Care Professionals, a module about teaching students who are studying to become health care professionals, particularly in the field of nursing. It was originally developed for the Staff Development Online (SDO) Professional Development for Casual Academic Staff (PDCAS) program but we have included a slightly modified version of it here for you.

The specific focus and content of this particular module is the work done in the classroom by clinical educators at Deakin. Teaching and learning in a health care professionals classroom requires tutors with a different set of skills from tutors who teach in a traditional theory based classroom. Teaching and learning in a health sciences classroom environment requires tutors who are comfortable with problem solving and case-based teaching being at the centre of learning rather than content delivery being the major focus.

Teaching in nursing for example, has been defined as the mode that provides students with the opportunity to translate theoretical knowledge into the learning of a variety of skills required to give patient-centred care (Schweer & Gebbie, 1976 cited in Henderson 1995).

The purpose of this module then is to provide an overview of the nature of health sciences classroom teaching and the characteristics of effective health care professionals teaching, and to provide a range of ideas for tutors to reflect on for use in their health sciences classrooms.

The module intentionally looks at two aspects of teaching health care professionals:

  • Problem Based Learning (PBL)
  • Case Based Learning (CBL)

Although similar in concept, each requires closer analysis in terms of the approach that clinical teachers may adopt to assist their students with their learning.

Problem Based Learning (PBL) is important for both classroom teaching as well as clinical teaching. The main emphasis of this module however is the classroom for Deakin nursing students.

Learning objectives

At the completion of this module you should be able to:

  • explain PBL as an approach to learning
  • distinguish PBL from CBL
  • differentiate PBL and CBL from subject based learning
  • analyse the role of the tutor in PBL and CBL
  • discuss the role of the student in a PBL or CBL environment
  • plan for teaching in a PBL and/or CBL classroom
  • explain methods of assessing learning and giving feedback in PBL and CBL

What's involved?

In order to assist you to become more familiar with health sciences teaching in higher education, this module will guide you through a discussion of various aspects of problem based learning and case based learning. The content of the module has been developed from a broad look at the literature available on PBL and CBL, together with input from practicing clinical teachers.

The module will look at defining PBL and CBL, the role of both the tutor and student in the health care professionals education setting, and provide some practical suggestions which may consider for use in your teaching, assessing and giving feedback to your students.

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29th November 2010