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Authors: Kristin Watson, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, and Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology

Are you looking to take your rotation to the next level? Trying to find some ways to save yourself time in the long run? Here are eight tools that we use as part of our learning experiences. While some of these tools take time to set-up in the beginning, they can definitely save you time or enable you to make better use of your and your learner’s time in the future!

Note: Members of ATRIUM do not receive compensation from any of the companies listed below, nor do we endorse a particular product. The information provided is based on our own experiences. We have listed some alternatives when possible for you to try too.

  1. YouTube

    YouTube video community ( create your own channel and publish your “flipped” learning videos. Creating and posting videos of concepts that you teach every rotation block can be a great time-saver. You can make your recordings private and share them with only selected individuals, or post them for the world to see.Not ready to create your own videos? Check out what others have already posted.  No need to duplicate efforts if someone has already published a great video that meets your needs! Just share the link to the video/channel with your learners.

    Here is an example video created by Dr. Brent Reed on the Pathophysiology of Pulmonary Hypertension This video was created with Camtasia using a professional grade microphone. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have access to these resources, as free screen and audio recording software is available (see #2).

    Other platforms to house and share recordings include: Vimeo ( and Crazy for Education (

    YouTube Capture  ( available through the iTunes Store. You can record movies or videos using your iPhone. This could be a great tool for recording how to perform a physical exam or even a mock patient interaction.


  1. Free Screen and Audio Recording Tools

    electaLive ( available for use on a PC. You can create video tutorials or screen recordings with this software. Video recordings via webcam are also possible.

    QuickTime ( ): available for use on a Mac and PC (Note: QuickTime 7 is no longer supported by Apple for Windows products). You can create screen (with commentary), audio-only, and movie recordings. This video about setting up an example Google Site: was created using QuickTime Player on a MacBook Pro using the internal microphone. This was done using the “screen recording” function; when using this type of feature you can elect to include an audio recording or not.


  1. Google Sites

    Create your own rotation website to store and share materials with learners: You can embed a Google Calendar on the site that you create to share meeting and presentation times. You can also house learning descriptions, example SOAP notes, readings, etc.

    We have found that Google Sites has enabled us to save time when sharing readings and other materials with our learners. Having a website prevents us from clogging our “sent” box or our learner’s “inbox” with a large number of attachments or having to comb back through emails to find documents.

    Examples of other available platforms include Weebly Website Builder (, WordPress ( or Yola (


  1. Survey Monkey

    Have you considered using a survey tool as part of your rotation? Consider creating a rotation pre- and post-test. The basic/free account should be suitable for this use. Here are sample questions to use for a rotation pre- and post-test:

    Other opportunities for a survey could be to:

  • Collect the learner’s goals and expectations for the experience
  • Receive feedback after a specific learning activity
  • Solicit feedback on a learner’s presentation, such as a journal club or case presentation


  1. Blogging

    I am relatively new to blogging and have found it to be quite enjoyable (this one was really fun to write). It is a great way to keep up with your writing skills and to share your thoughts and ideas with others. One thing that I plan on doing this fall is to require learners on rotation with me to create a blog about a clinical topic. Stay tuned for a blog I am co-authoring with one of our post-graduate year two residents!

    Here are some platforms that you can use to start your own blog with your learners:


  1. Online Calendar

    Previously our group provided learners with a rotation calendar in Word document format. With all of our learners now having smartphones, we have transitioned to an online calendar. This is also helpful for our group as we co-precept learners in the inpatient setting. And let’s face it: things come up and schedules have to change! The use of an online calendar enables real-time schedule updates.Here are a few examples of platforms

  • Google Calendar – We use this calendar as it seems to sync seamlessly with different types of platforms. And it may be that we just seem to gravitate to all things Google.
  • Keep & Share –
  • Teamup–


  1. Live Topic or Journal Club Discussions

    Two years ago, we created a Regional Cardiology Journal Club and invited several other cardiology residency programs to participate. We decided to develop this program to provide our cardiology residents with the opportunity to routinely interact and learn from other cardiology residents and specialists. Students on rotation with us as well as all of the other residents in our program are invited to attend each month.

    We use Blackboard Collaborate, which is available through our University, to host these sessions. GoToMeeting, which is also available for a fee, would be another great option.

    Interested in starting your own with others in your field but don’t have access to an online classroom? You can have presenters share their handouts or simply facilitate a discussion over the phone. Try one of these free teleconference lines:


  1. Twitter

    Social media has become a huge part of health care. I know that it helps my ATRIUM colleagues and me keep up with the medical literature. It also provides us with the opportunity to share information and interact with other practitioners. There are several ways that you could incorporate Twitter into your rotation:

  • Host a Tweet Chat. Select an article or topic for discussion and set a date and time with your learners and others in your organization. With a tweet chat, participants don’t even have to be in the same location. It is also a great way to teach learners how to be concise – you can say a lot in 140 characters or less! Here are some great reads on what a Tweet/Twitter Chat is and how to host one:
  • Have learners “follow” professional organizations or other practitioners in your field of practice. Have them give a weekly update of what they learned.
  • Have learners write 2-3 tweets each day about what they learned. They don’t necessarily have to post the tweets, but just writing these short blurbs can help them recall what they learned that day.If you elect to have them tweet, don’t forgot to talk to them about what is acceptable or not (e.g., not sharing patient information). Your institution likely has a social media policy to share. You can even have them send you the tweets before posting.


Tweet us at @ATRIUMRx or email us at if you have ideas to share on this topic. Our group is always excited to try something new!


Kristin Watson, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology

Dr. Watson is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and practices as a clinical pharmacy specialist in the ambulatory heart failure clinic at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Follow her on Twitter @cards_pharm_gal

Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology

Dr. Devabhakthuni is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and practices as a clinical pharmacy specialist in advanced heart failure at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Follow him on Twitter @deepdev511

8 Simple (and Free) Tools for Enhancing Your Rotation

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