Michael Smith, MD, awardee for innovative practices in education. The award is given to an individual or team that demonstrates ingenuity, courage, and creativity in teaching, including innovations in the use of educational technology, experiential learning, simulation adoption, and/or creative use of the classroom.
- name: Michael Smith, MD
- Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Hospital Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
- Join UNMC: 2014
- hometown: Omaha
She was awarded the Innovative Practices in Education Award. How has innovation played a role in your educational career?
Innovation was essential to me. When I started, I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to teach the whole team, something that rarely or never happens. I had to learn to teach who was there on my hospital team. This gave me a large sample of ideas and topics that people enjoyed or some that people didn’t find particularly valuable. It also gave me an idea of the ideal conditions and settings for teaching certain subjects. Then I had to convince colleagues that there was an opportunity to teach topics like communication skills using improvisational theatre, or the weekly mystery issue with a cup to teach diagnostic thinking. Again, the ideal situation to do this didn’t really exist, so situations were devised with collaborators. It was really about saying “yes” to any opportunity that presented itself and making adjustments as we went along to improve the experience. I’m still testing ideas with my team at the hospital to see if the ideas resonate and then transfer them to new audiences or use them to modify our existing learning opportunities. For me, this is the process of innovation in education. This process is my favorite part of my job—the process of learning something new, having a moment of clarity based on that new connection, using that new information in my work, teaching that information or idea to the learners, and then observing their moment of clarity and knowing that they will take the ideas into their practice. own.
Describe the moment you are most proud of as a teacher.
I’m very proud of the community of people helping with the improvement workshops across campus and the community of people helping with this week’s hospital medicine puzzle case. I’m proud to have these groups of people, but I’m really grateful for each and every one of them.
What advice would you give to other faculty members who want to make an impact in education?
The secret to being a good teacher is to teach. I realize this sounds obvious, but the more you practice the skill of teaching, the better you will understand how to connect with all types of learners. Every opportunity to teach helps me become the best teacher I can be and can be used to expand my teaching.
Do you have a favorite quote or teaching philosophy?
We don’t live up to our expectations, we live up to our training.