Summary: After delivering a medical student teaching session, I joined my students for coffee... Description: After delivering a medical student teaching session, I joined my students for coffee. I was intrigued to hear their discussion, focused primarily on whether they had managed to obtain tickets for the latest music festival or concert. For it seemed that music was a predominant talking point. What was interesting however was the fact that the choice of music preferred seemed to vary somewhat – from jazz and rock, to hip hop and dance with the occasional boy or girl band worshipper. Obviously people are different, which comes as no surprise, but what can certainly be said is that music is something that is enjoyed by all ages. Everyone has a rhythm of their own and music certainly brings it out. However whether your performance on the dance floor appears fashionable or not is, I guess, a different story.

When it comes to medical student or postgraduate training, it is clear that the UK’s system leaves little room for manoeuvre – something trainees often refer to as ‘Get in, Get on and Get out.’ What instructors must realise is that each student or trainee is different. Their preferred method of instruction may vary and vary considerably. Some may prefer a self-directed approach, group learning, or the old fashioned huddle in front of the projector screen or bed side. My recent student grouping was a prime example of this. Some students were keen to stay after hours and requested small group teaching by the bed side and others were more keen to practise history taking and examination on each other before being slowly exposed to patients. Even then they would choose to undertake small steps of the history process or examination technique before being willing enough to perform fait accompli. For me this approach was more pleasing, observing my students complete the full cycle after gaining enough confidence and motivation to do so.

So in order to engage our students and trainees it is important to be receptive of our audience. Only then will individuals engage with the material at hand and with any luck feel their training is actually music to their ears.


Dr Neel Sharma

Honorary Clinical Lecturer

Centre for Medical Education

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry

Email – [email protected]