Situation, me, act, and check (SMAC): A toolkit that helps students learn to Act Wisely in practice

Tim Dornan, Hannah Gillespie, Florence Findlay-White, Ciara Lee, Helen Reid, Richard Conn

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This article answers a question asked by many clinicians: ‘There are students1 in my workplace, what next?’. Experience-based learning (ExBL), the evidence-informed theory we have progressively developed over 20 years, has provided answers and raised new questions.1-4 Our response has been to complement ExBL with an even finer-honed tool, which we introduce here. The acronym SMAC (Situation, Me, Act, and Check) summarises how clinicians can help students learn from encounters with patients.5, 6 Before elaborating on SMAC, the next paragraph and Box 1 summarise how ExBL helps create environments that favour clinical learning. While ExBL was developed to educate medical students, it is founded on principles that make it transferable, potentially, to students of any health profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalThe Clinical Teacher
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2022


  • General Medicine
  • Review and Exam Preparation


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