2.5: Teacher-Learner Agreement

Stanford University School of Medicine holds in high regard professional behaviors and attitudes, including altruism, integrity, respect for others and a commitment to excellence. Effective learning is best fostered in an environment of mutual respect between teachers and learners. In the context of medical education the term “teacher” is used broadly to include peers, resident physicians, full-­‐‑ time and volunteer faculty members, clinical preceptors, nurses, and ancillary support staff, as well as others from whom students learn.

Guiding Principles:

Duty: Medical educators have a duty to convey  the  knowledge  and  skills  required  for delivering the profession‘s standard of care and also to instill the values and attitudes required for preserving the medical profession‘s social contract with its patients.

Integrity: Learning environments that are conducive to conveying professional values must be based on integrity. Students and residents learn professionalism by observing and emulating role models who epitomize authentic professional values and attitudes.

Respect: Respect for every individual is fundamental to the ethic of medicine. Mutual respect is essential for nurturing that ethic. Teachers have a special obligation to ensure that students and residents are always treated respectfully.

Responsibilities of Teachers and Learners:

Teachers should:

  • Treat students fairly and respectfully
  • Maintain high professional standards in all interactions
  • Be prepared and on time
  • Provide relevant and timely information
  • Provide  explicit  learning  and  behavioral  expectationsearly in a course or clerkship
  • Provide timely, focused, accurate and constructivefeedback on a regular basis and thoughtful and timely evaluations at the end of a course or clerkship
  • Display honesty, integrity and compassion
  • Practice insightful (Socratic) questioning, which stimulates learning and self-­‐‑discover, and avoid overly aggressive questioning which may be perceived as hurtful, humiliating, degrading or punitive
  • Solicit  feedback  from students regarding their perception of their education experiences
  • Encourage students who experience mistreatment or who witness unprofessional behavior to report the facts immediately

Students should:

  • Be courteous of teachers and fellow students
  • Be prepared and on time
  • Be active, enthusiastic, curious learners
  • Demonstrate professional behavior in all settings
  • Recognize that not all learning stems from formal and structured activities
  • Recognize their responsibility to establish learning objectives and to participate as an active learner
  • Demonstrate a commitment to life-­‐‑long learning, a practice that is essential to the profession of medicine
  • Recognize personal limitations and seek help as needed
  • Display honesty, integrity and compassion
  • Recognize the privileges and responsibilities coming from the opportunity to work with patients in clinical settings
  • Recognize the duty to place patient welfare above their own
  • Recognize and respect patients‘ rights to privacy
  • Solicit feedback on their performance and recognize that criticism is not synonymous with “abuse”

Relationships between Teachers and Learners:

Students and teachers should recognize the special nature of the teacher-­‐‑learner relationship which is in part defined by professional role modeling, mentorship, and supervision.

Because of the special nature of this relationship, students and teachers should strive to develop their relationship to one characterized by mutual trust, acceptance and confidence. They should both recognize the potential for conflict of interest and respect appropriate boundaries.

updated August 2020