Emergency department provides perfect setting for teaching moments

Aaron Moodley strives to make emergency room medicine fun for his learners

Tamara Vineberg - 04 February 2019

A hospital emergency department can be a frenzied chaotic place at times and this may pose a challenging environment in which to teach pediatric residents, however for Aaron Moodley, it's the perfect setting in which to pass along knowledge.

Moodley, a clinical lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics, realizes this environment might be intimidating for some new learners. "I try to make the learners feel at ease as much as possible by making it a safe and fun experience for them. The pediatric emergency department is certainly conducive to that because your staff physician is always not far away. You are never left alone as a junior learner. You always have that support," he says.

His insight into teaching garnered him a Top 10 Teachers Award in 2018. "It certainly has been an enjoyable privilege to be involved in medical instruction in some capacity over the past several years. Being tasked with the proverbial passing of the (knowledge) baton is a serious responsibility indeed," says Moodley.

He started his medical career in South Africa and came to Canada as a family physician, working for the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Family Medicine in the northern part of that province. Moodley was always interested in pediatrics and was fortunate to land a re-entry training award through the Saskatchewan Medical Association. After his pediatric residency, he started a pediatric fellowship at the University of Alberta. He says he was drawn to pediatrics because he feels that children are innocent in terms of their health issues and illnesses.

Albeit that most learning is traditionally transferred from teacher to student. He believes it's a two way street and also learns from the residents as he teaches them. "They get to learn from you and you from them as well, especially in this Internet age where the learners have such easy access to a wealth of information literally at their fingertips," says Moodley.

There's also the satisfaction of helping a child become healthy again.

"I'm sure most medical educators would share my sentiment that the joy of witnessing expressions of contented fulfillment on the faces of learners as they garner medical knowledge is second only to that of seeing a once sick and unhappy child leaving the hospital feeling better while donning a smile," he says.