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Acute care toolkit 5: Teaching on the acute medical unit

Work-based learning and teaching are vital parts of medical education, and AMUs are rich learning environments for a range of health professional and students. High-quality teaching and learning directly impacts on patient safety, quality of care and trainees’ experiences.

Key recommendations

  1. Every AMU should have an education lead to promote and coordinate work-based teaching and learning.
  2. The importance of learning and teaching in the workplace should be emphasised.
  3. Consultant physicians should have no other commitments when they are on call or on the AMU.
  4. Education leads should facilitate a good learning environment.
  5. Trainees should spend blocks of time on the AMU, not just when they are on call.
  6. Consultant physicians should be trained in techniques that explicitly facilitate work-based learning, including teaching when time is limited and how to give frequent, effective feedback.
  7. All AMUs should have easy access to a dedicated teaching space, ideally embedded within the unit.
  8. Classroom-based teaching should be delivered in shorter, more frequent sessions at times that fit in with the AMU workload. Sessions should complement, not replace, workbased learning, and be ‘protected’ as far as possible.


This toolkit provides practical guidance on how to define teaching and learning episodes more clearly, and facilitate learning on the AMU effectively when time is often limited.

Topics covered by the toolkit include:

  • overcoming barriers to teaching on the AMU
  • teaching and learning in practice
  • what teaching should cover
  • techniques and case studies.

Never too busy to learn

Never too busy to learn report helps healthcare teams make the most of daily learning opportunities in the workplace, and explores how ‘invitational’ learning environments can be created in clinical settings.