Workshop B

Developing Five Microskills to Guide Learners in a Variety of Clinical Settings: Is it One-Size-Fits-All?

Khoa Duong, MD, MPH, Zulfa Ishan, MD, Bryanne Macdonald, MD, Danielle O’Rourke-Suchoff, MD, MPH, Michael Taglienti, and Jeffrey Markuns, MD, EdM

Masters of Health Professions Education, Graduate Medical School


The five microskills is popular as a method for more structured clinical teaching of learners, originally developed for use in the outpatient setting. The core steps of this teaching model are:

  1. get a commitment,
  2. probe for supporting evidence,
  3. teach general rules,
  4. reinforce what was done right, and
  5. correct mistakes.

While this teaching method most naturally fits into outpatient general medicine clinics, it has great utility and benefit for teachers and learners in other settings as well. However, there is a sparsity of guidance for educators on how to apply these teaching principles to other settings, such as the operating room, specialty clinics, and emergent care. In this workshop, we will first review the steps of the five microskills model, and then, using discussion and active hands-on application, apply these teaching strategies to a variety of clinical settings to help guide future practice.

Target Audience:

Clinical educators in a variety of clinical settings such as the operating room, emergent settings, and specialty clinics seeking more structured methods for teaching.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Explain the microskills method.
  • Demonstrate the five microskills in the traditional outpatient setting.
  • Apply the microskills method in a variety of clinical settings by participating in role play activities.

Session Outline:

Introduction and paired practice session (25 minutes)

  • Demonstrate the five microskills (presenters model)
  • Introduce the steps of the five microskills and the rationale behind their use
  • Practice application in pairs with intro case in outpatient setting (presenters will act as additional standardized learners)

Breakout sessions (25 minutes each): Small group discussion of current teaching challenges, microskills application and practice for specific clinical settings. Participants can choose between the two stations offered during each breakout session.

Breakout Session #1:

  • Station 1A: Operating Room OR
  • Station 1B: Clinical procedures

Breakout session #2:

  • Station 2A: Inpatient wards OR
  • Station 2B: Acute care setting

Full group wrap up (15 minutes): Final review of microskills, perceived challenges with applications and potential solutions