Teaching Skills Curriculum

In addition to a three-year, rolling curriculum, our program also offers a dedicated teaching rotation in the third year, as well as more advanced training.

Ultrasound Curriculum

Our longitudinal training in point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) results in residency graduates with skills that would normally only be obtained in radiology or emergency medicine programs.

Quality & Safety Curriculum

Quality improvement benefits our patients and our systems, but it also provides our residents with an opportunity to lead a focused project often resulting in a publication or presentation at a regional or national society meeting. We have carved-out protected time for this work and our VA-funded Chief Resident for Quality & Safety is just one of the mentors guiding residents.


Through the department, we have been able to develop an app available for our residents called qUIkcoach. This is a new app that is able to request and provide just-in-time feedback on a variety of different skills including clinical reasoning, communication, oral presentation, and notes. This allows for more directed feedback with a quicker turnaround time.

Ultrasound Curriculum

Point of Care Ultrasound Curriculum Overview

The University of Iowa Internal Medicine Residency Program Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Curriculum is a longitudinal, integrated, and progressive learning experience.  The POCUS curriculum is focused on teaching basic bedside ultrasonography and how it is utilized and applied to patient care in clinical internal medicine.  The curriculum is integrated into and taught longitudinally during the academic half day during each resident’s ambulatory week (y-week).  POCUS instruction is delivered by experienced faculty members, critical care fellows, and chief residents.  POCUS skills assessments are completed for residents during each year of their training and the POCUS curriculum is modified on a yearly basis to best adapt to the needs of the trainees.

Curriculum Goal: At the end of the longitudinal POCUS curriculum, the resident will be able to acquire, interpret, and apply focused cardiac, lung, pleural, abdominal, and vascular ultrasound imaging into their clinical reasoning and medical decision making.

Teaching Methods:

  • Independent pre-workshop learning materials (POCUS textbook chapters, online modules, etc)
  • Short didactic sessions
  • Hands-on scanning of simulated patients with live faculty mentors and real-time feedback
  • Pathological image interpretation sessions
  • Interactive ultrasound case studies


Basic POCUS Modules (PGY-1) Advanced POCUS Modules (PGY-2 and above)
  • Introduction (US physics, US artifacts, knobology)
  • Lung and Pleural Ultrasound
  • Basic Cardiac Ultrasound
  • Abdominal Ultrasound (FAST)
  • Basic Vascular Ultrasound
  • Lower Extremity Venous Compression Ultrasonography (DVT)
  • BLUE Protocol
  • Advanced Cardiac Ultrasound
  • Gallbladder Ultrasound
  • Lumbar Puncture Ultrasound
  • Soft Tissue Ultrasound

Assessment: Pre- and post-curriculum assessment is completed annually to assess each individual trainee’s skills and knowledge acquisition and retention.  These yearly assessments are also used to assess the curriculum and guide ongoing improvements in the POCUS curriculum.  Assessment is completed using live ultrasound skills testing with faculty proctors, an electronic ultrasound knowledge assessment, and a resident survey. 

Teaching Skills Curriculum

Studies have estimated that residents spend up to 20% of their time on teaching activities regardless of their department or future career plans. Despite the significant responsibility for teaching medical students and colleagues along with patients and their families residents often have not received formal instruction on how to be effective teachers.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program values the important role that residents assume as teachers. The program also recognizes how complex medical teaching can be when the teacher must meet the needs of the learner while providing care for the patient.

In an effort to help residents develop teaching skills as well as gain confidence as teachers, the program has designed opportunities for residents to improve their teaching skills during their training.

Teaching Skills Curriculum: Residents participate in a longitudinal teaching skills curriculum during the “Y” week block. The goal of the Teaching Skills curriculum is to introduce residents to a knowledge base and skill set used when serving in the role of a clinical educator. The curriculum for all residents presents concepts and allows time for skill development.

Teaching Resident Rotation: For residents interested in further advancing their teaching skills, the residency program also offers a “Teaching Resident” rotation during the PGY3 year. Residents who participate in this 4-week block are provided with extensive opportunities and resources to develop skills for effective teaching including skills for small group facilitation, interacting and teaching with multiple levels of learners and time management. These residents have time available to develop an educational project such as a topic pocket card, a patient simulation or an electronic teaching module. Built into this experience is the opportunity to interact with faculty members who provide feedback and evaluation of the resident’s teaching skills in a variety of teaching activities and venues.

Masters of Medical Education: This program offers a Master in Medical Education degree in order to develop a community of academic medical faculty with formal training in education who will create and sustain a culture of educational excellence within the College of Medicine, the university, and the medical education community at-large.

Jane A. Rowat, MS
Director for Educational Development

Three-Year Rolling Curriculum

Teaching Skills Curriculum goals

The goal of the Teaching Skills curriculum is to introduce residents to a knowledge base and skill set used when serving in the role of a clinical educator. The longitudinal curriculum for all residents presents concepts and allows residents to practice skills associated with topics such as establishing the learning climate, motivating the learner, one-minute preceptor and feedback and evaluation as well as interactive teaching and evaluation.

Sessions are interactive covering a topic related to current best teaching practices. There is time for skill development and through the process of deliberate practice, residents design an action plan for further skill development. Residents complete pre-session readings and following each session are expected to refer to their action plan in teaching encounters.

Session #1: Introduction to Teaching Skills, Learning Climate and Effective Teachers

  1. identify characteristics of exemplary clinical teachers
  2. identify strategies to promote an effective learning climate
  3. demonstrate teaching behaviors that promote an effective learning climate
  4. develop an action plan to improve the learning climate in your own teaching

Session #2: Motivating the Learner

  1. examine contributing factors that affect a learner’s performance.
  2. explain one relevant motivational theory that covers extrinsic & intrinsic motivators.
  3. discuss the importance and impact of a good orientation.
  4. identify components of an orientation.

Session #3: One-Minute Preceptor

  1. describe the 5 elements of the one-minute preceptor model for clinical teaching.
  2. successfully apply the model to a simulated learner presenting a patient.
  3. use the model to develop an assessment of the learner’s current level of knowledge/skill and what the learner needs to know.

Session #4: Feedback

  1. define feedback and give rationale for providing feedback to learners.
  2. recognize barriers to giving feedback.
  3. identify characteristics of effective feedback.
  4. demonstrate effective feedback via observation and practice.
  5. develop an action plan for improving personal feedback skills.

Session #5: Interactive Teaching/Use of Technology

  1. know the goals of effective lecturing/presentation.
  2. describe components of effective lecturing/presentation.
  3. apply specific techniques for making lectures more interactive.

Session #6: Evaluation of Students, Peers and Faculty

  1. define evaluation and differentiate it from feedback.
  2. obtain an understanding of the use of commonly used evaluation tools and techniques.
  3. gain insight into common pitfalls surrounding evaluations.
  4. understand why accurate evaluation is important.

Quality Improvement Curriculum

Check out the
QI information on our blog

Resident Quality Improvement Curriculum

The Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Iowa is committed to engaging residents in team-based Patient Safety/Quality Improvement projects to develop their knowledge and skills. It is our goal for every resident to be empowered to impact the quality and safety of their patients’ care during their residency and in their future careers. Our ground breaking curriculum was published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education.


  • Actively and meaningfully participate in a team quality improvement project
  • Work effectively with inter-professional teams on continuous quality improvement
  • Apply continuous quality improvement to patient care
  • Disseminate work in scholarly format
  • Make a difference in the safety and quality of care of our current and future patients

Meet our Quality Improvement Leaders

Carly Kuehn, MD
Educational Director - Safety and Quality
Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine


Derek Hupp, MD
Chief Resident of Quality and Safety
Iowa City VA Medical Center


Quality Improvement Scholarship

The University of Iowa Department of Medicine understands that Quality Improvement and Patient Safety presents a phenomenal opportunity for scholarship for our residents. To showcase our commitment to our patient’s safety and to provide an avenue for scholarship the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics host an annual Quality and Safety Symposium in which our resident teams are given the opportunity, encouragement, resources, and mentorship to submit and present their projects. After this, many teams submit their projects to large regional and national meetings.

Since the development of our curriculum we have had…

Resident Quotes

“I felt as though I was making a quality change to improve the outpatient experience.”

“The QI curriculum gave us an opportunity for ownership over real positive change for our patients.”

“I actually know now the basics of how to design, implement, and interpret the results of a quality improvement project, which I didn’t know before.”