Workshop Abstract

An approach to Consultation Skills

Interested in teaching your trainees to be better consultants for their colleagues? Come to this workshop

Presenters: Eva Piessens


  • Participants will understand the professionalism issues around becoming a consultant

  • Participants will be able to articulate approaches to teaching professionalism to residents transitioning as consultants

The problem:

In 2017, the infectious diseases residency program faculty noted that new trainees started the program without a clear sense of what it meant to be a consultant. Specific concerns raised include:

  1. Lack of engagement and “ownership” of the training program: No communication with clinical staff for planned absences, lack of knowledge of the requirements of the program despite a handbook available in written and electronic format

  2. Lack of effective communication with consulting services, both verbally and in written form: Written consults are incomplete (ie no medication list, overuse of abbreviations) and lack a detailed follow up plan

Together the issues have significant impact on patient care, especially around issue of handover and patient safety.

Our approach:

The Program Director surveyed residents and faculty on professional and consulting issues then used the survey results to create 2 new academic half days (called “the summer curriculum”). Dr. Piessens will provide a descriptive workshop that details how she created her workshop!

Details of the Curriculum:

The first session: “What is a consultant?” Professionalism and introduction to McMaster

  1. Flipped classroom approach with articles on consult skills sent out ahead of time

  2. Small group discussion with reflective learning

Residents are asked to think and write down what skills they need to become an independent consultant, what they hope to achieve out of the training program, what their long-term goals are. The residents then met with the program director and assistant program director to discuss the components of an effective consultation with the faculty and senior residents contributing real life examples and mistakes to the discussion.

The second session: What is a consultant? the nitty gritty

Short presentation on CMPA and CPSO documentation requirements

  1. Small group discussion with residents reviewing “bad” and “good” consultation notes to review and reflect on ahead of time- why is documentation an issue of professionalism- how much detail is enough detail

  2. One on one review of their own written consult with the program director or designee

Instructional Design

This will be an interactive seminar where Dr. Piessens will provide an overview and specific details on how she created her workshop. You will have a chance to discuss with her the mechanics and lessons learned from her curriculum development and implementation.