On bedside teaching

Ann Intern Med. 1997 Feb 1;126(3):217-20. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-126-3-199702010-00007.


Actual teaching at the bedside during attending rounds, with emphasis on history taking and physical diagnosis, has declined from an incidence of 75% in the 1960s to an incidence of less than 16% today. Profound advances in technology, in imaging, and in laboratory testing and our fascination for these aspects of patient care, account for part of this decline, but faculty must also assume responsibility for the present lack of bedside teaching. If we are to reverse this trend, we will need to realize the barriers to bedside teaching, both real and imagined, and overcome them. And if we are to become effective bedside teachers, as were our mentors, we will need to sharpen our own physical diagnostic skills. We will need to learn how to be gentle with students and housestaff, how to better communicate with patients, and how to teach ethics and professionalism with the patient at hand.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine / education*
  • Communication
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / trends
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Teaching / methods*
  • United States