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Principles Guiding Medical Education

The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recognizes medical education as central to its mission.  This statement outlines the principles supported by the BIDMC community to support and strengthen "a culture of education" at this medical center.

General Principles.  All faculty and trainees can expect:

To advocate for his/her patients' best interests, and to provide compassionate, appropriate, and effective patient care and education.

To participate in high quality educational experiences in an institution committed to the development of competent, compassionate, ethical physicians.

To teach and learn in a safe and humane environment where education is a primary goal, without compromising patient care.

To uphold ethical norms of integrity, honesty, behavior, and reliability, and to cultivate the practice of professionalism.

To identify and develop their own practices of life-long and systems-based learning.

To fulfill his/her responsibilities as a member of the health care team.

To communicate freely with faculty and trainees.

To contribute to the design of the educational process and the evaluation of educational programs.

To participate in the Medical Center community in ways which enhance the academic and social environment.

To have adequate teaching, learning, and testing environments, with access to appropriate technologies.

To promote a safe environment by reporting unprofessional conduct or any behavior affecting patient care to the appropriate individual or authority, without fear of reprisal.

In addition to the General Principles, all trainees (interns, residents, fellows and students) can expect:

To be governed by clearly stated and justifiable academic procedures, rules and regulations.

To be informed of educational goals and objectives at the outset of the course/program.

To be informed at the outset of the course/program of grading and evaluation criteria and the processes by which grades and evaluations are completed.

To receive formative evaluation at specified times during the educational experience regarding academic and clinical performance, to summative evaluation in writing, and the opportunity to discuss evaluations in person with faculty.

To be informed of institutional policies and procedures.

To receive individual guidance and assistance in matters of career and professional development.

To have resources made available for support in matters pertaining to medical and psychological health.

Adequate resources such as on-call rooms, bed and shower facilities, and 24-hour access to food.

In addition, all interns, residents and fellows can expect:

To be treated as professional colleagues and junior members of the faculty in the care of patients and in the academic community.

To have meaningful and significant representation at their institutions and in state/national organizations on matters concerning all aspects of their training.

Medical students can expect:

To be treated with respect and as contributing members of the health care team.

In addition to the General Principles, faculty members can expect:

Time for teaching, for acknowledgement of their teaching contributions on an annual basis, and to formal communication about the remuneration processes for their teaching efforts, according to methodologies determined by BIDMC and HMS administrators responsible for education.

The support of BIDMC and HMS (as represented by their Department Chair, Course/Program Director(s), and BIDMC Education Center) as they present their teaching contributions in the context of their teaching portfolio in consideration for academic promotion.

Access to, and support for, faculty development and continuing medical education activities.

All trainees have the responsibility:

To ask questions that promote their understanding of their discipline and their care of patients. 

To know and act in accordance with one's own cognitive, physical, and emotional limitations.

To take steps to act on constructive criticism.

To acknowledge his/her own mistakes and take steps to correct them.

To devote appropriate time and effort to self-care.

To be respectful of their colleagues, nurses, and teachers.

Faculty members have the responsibility:

To be appropriate role models in providing compassionate patient care.

To teach trainees as junior colleagues and future professionals, at a level appropriate to the trainee's learning needs.

To contribute to the establishment of a learning environment that fosters mutual trust and inquiry.

To provide appropriate supervision for trainees.

To be familiar with the curricular context of the course/program(s) in which they participate.

To be aware of the goals and objectives of the educational experience, and the criteria for grading and performance evaluation, and to communicate these to trainees.

To be accessible to trainees, and responsive to trainee questions and needs.

To communicate problems with a learner's knowledge, skills, and behaviors to the learner and, when appropriate, to other educators who share responsibility for the learner's education (e.g., Society Master, Course/Clerkship/Program Director). This feedback should be given in a timely and constructive manner that provides guidance or instruction for remediation.

To provide mentorship and advising, formally and informally.

To serve the academic community in matters of curriculum planning and related committee work.

To update his/her own knowledge and skills, and to incorporate this new learning into teaching.

To be actively involved in the intellectual discussions of the profession, particularly as a member of the research and health care teams.


Approved by the Graduate Medical Education Committee:  December 13, 2004
Approved by the Medical Executive Committee:  December 15, 2004

Contact Information

Center for Education
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue, ES-200
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
617-667-9120
617-667-9122
education@bidmc.harvard.edu