Bedside teaching is seen as one of the most important modalities in teaching a variety of skills important for the medical profession, but its use is declining. A literature review was conducted to reveal its strengths, the causes of its decline and future perspectives, the evidence with regard to learning clinical skills and patient/student/teacher satisfaction. PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane library were systematically searched with regard to terms related to bedside teaching. Articles regarding the above-mentioned subjects were included. Bedside teaching has shown to improve certain clinical diagnostic skills in medical students and residents. Patients, students/residents and teachers all seem to favour bedside teaching, for varying reasons. Despite this, the practice of bedside teaching is declining. Reasons to explain this decline include the increased patient turnover in hospitals, the assumed violation of patients' privacy and an increased reliance on technology in the diagnostic process. Solutions vary from increasingly using residents and interns as bedside teachers to actively educating staff members regarding the importance of bedside teaching and providing them with practical essentials. Impediments to bedside teaching need to be overcome if this teaching modality is to remain a valuable educational method for durable clinical skills.