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Benefits of Teaching

Benefits of teaching and advantages of life-long learning 

With nine teaching sites across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Dalhousie Family Medicine is indeed “impacting minds and communities.” Behind our success is a committed group of family doctors helping to train the next generation.

As various influencers — teachers, preceptors, researchers, collaborators and faculty members — these family doctors continue to expand their already challenging roles of treating patients. They face and embrace many additional responsibilities, but the rewards are just as significant; through their training of learners and residents, our teachers are advancing the future of family medicine while having a major impact on the communities we serve.

It’s fitting that the word doctor is derived from the Latin word docere, meaning “to teach.”  After all, by passing on knowledge and expertise gained over the years, we can give back to the system from which we gained so much ourselves. This is our legacy as preceptors, a role that serves medicine as a whole — and Maritime communities specifically — while benefitting both teacher and learner in the process.

For the fun of it

Family Medicine can be lonely (although somewhat a contradiction, it is nonetheless true). Thus, many physicians teach because of the joy of interacting with learners in their practice and sharing their day-to-day work with an interested, enthusiastic learner.

It keeps me on my toes 

It is all too easy in family practice to get into the habit of doing things because it is the way you have always done it. Many physicians like having a medical learner in their practice because they appreciate being challenged. Having a learner stimulates you to think about how you are managing your patients ensuring you are able to appropriately justify your management plans based on current medical knowledge and practices. If you can answer a question put forth to you by a learner, you feel confident of the rationale for your approach.

To give back 

Medicine is based on a long history of teacher and apprentice. We can all think back on our own medical education to those teachers who made a difference in our lives. Passing those pearls of wisdom and new knowledge and expertise gained over the years is not only rewarding, but helps to give back to the system from which we gained so much as learners ourselves.

For the love of teaching 

Family practice can be fun, engaging and challenging, but for some it’s the challenge of teaching that adds enthusiasm and energy to their day. Adding some variety to the day-to-day care of patients by becoming a teacher can renew enthusiasm for what can sometimes become routine. Learners put some of the awe back into the privilege of our profession.

For recruitment

There is no doubt, with the chronic shortages of family physicians throughout the Maritimes, that many of us teach in hope that learners will be attracted to our location and consider a future practice opportunity in our community. Learners are exploring various career options and use their clinical rotations as a means of assessing locations for residency and later for practice. Exposure to a variety of communities helps learners expand their options and allows established physicians an opportunity to cultivate relationships and encourage learners to consider locations in need of future family physicians.

For retention

Studies have shown that family physicians who teach tend to be more satisfied with their practice than those who do not. Teaching adds variety and challenge and enjoyment into practices that help keep physicians satisfied. Opportunities for academic advancement might be important for some physicians, and these needs are satisfied through teaching connections and some of the peripheral opportunities these provide, including faculty development, research and academic promotion.

Access to additional resources 

The Department of Family Medicine provides preceptors with resources for their practices that learners may need to use during their rotation. The department actively seeks out tools and resources that would be useful to physicians in their day-to-day practice; we also assist clinical clerks in meeting their rotation objectives. Tools used by community-based physicians are shared and, therefore, the department acts as a clearinghouse for mutually beneficial materials that might not otherwise have a venue to circulate among community family physicians.

Benefits of a Dalhousie Faculty Appointment

  • Decreased tuition at CME events
  • Access to Dalhousie University libraries – many electronic journals, resources, databases
  • Opportunities for faculty development with your local site, with Dalhousie Family Medicine and with continuing professional development in the Faculty of Medicine
  • Mainpro-M2 study credits from CFPC
  • Faculty rank at the level of lecturer. A faculty rank at the level of assistant professor would be applied if a certificication with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is held. In both cases there is an opportunity for promotion (if you hold a faculty appointment at another university we will consider submitting your application at your current rank)
  • Honorarium for teaching
  • Dalhousie email account
  • University discounts at hotels/car rentals
  • Discounts at local bookstores for being a teacher

Contact us

Phone: 902-473-8047
Email: fmeducation@dal.ca
Website: family.medicine.dal.ca/education