Short Post on Non-Pimping by Calvin Chou

imagesI’ve gotten a lot of responses by my article on pimping in the BMJ.  As I said before, some have been very supportive.  Some have, surprisingly, defended the practice.  In my last post I mentioned the work of Calvin Chou and his colleagues at the VA.  They teach feedback to students, trainees, faculty, staff.  It is a remarkable sight to see how this iterative process — teach one, do one, coach one, review one, do one, teach one and on and on — produces effective teamwork and teaching and feedback.  When I emailed Calvin to alert him to my last blog post in which his work was mentioned, he sent the following comment to me.  I asked him if I might share it with my readers, and he said, absolutely!  So here is Calvin Chou’s comment on learning how not to pimp.

“One thing I’ve found as I use a questioning (not pimping) style with students and residents is in my first meeting with them, is that I set the expectation (and ask permission) to ask questions, to engage learners and to help assess their knowledge base and develop it. When I have just started in with that style in the past without orientation, students figure out that I am probing them in a supportive way, but it’s better if I orient them first.

Here is another  thing I have progressed to:   rather than asking what someone is doing ‘well’ (then learners are waiting for the shoe to drop: ‘what are you doing badly?’), I ask what are they doing effectively, or what are they doing that they would like to keep doing. Takes away a bit more of the judgment, to which learners, particularly students, are so supersensitive.”

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