CPM Fall 2019 - 4

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From the Editor

Student and Resident
Medical Education:

A Requirement or
A Courtesy?

D
Joseph F. Answine, MD, FASA
Central PA Medicine Editor-in-Chief

facebook.com/dauphincms

Dauphin@pamedsoc.org

Dauphin County Medical Society
777 East Park Drive, PO Box 8820
Harrisburg, PA 17105

ecades ago, most medical education of students and young physicians was
done at few hospitals, usually tied to a major university such as Penn State
Hershey. However, with the increasing number of medical schools, physician
assistant schools, nurse anesthetist schools, and so on; the number of clinical
teaching sites has expanded. Furthermore, the separation between academic and private
practice hospitals has blurred. And, a more "hands on" or "one on one" teaching style
between educator and trainee has occurred to promote a greater sense of patient safety.
The demand, therefore, for clinical medical educators has grown, and very few of us can
escape being asked to mentor someone new to the art of medicine.
Teaching is rewarding, exciting and uplifting. However, it is work; work that is on top
of an already demanding and time-consuming job. I get it. Furthermore, it is rarely tied
to an increase in pay. Many of us are still practice owners and are paid for the care we
provide. Therefore, a compassionate, thorough, and efficient practice is the goal. When
teaching, compassion and thoroughness are attainable, but efficiency is much more
difficult to achieve.
You cannot force physicians to teach. Would you want a teacher that is forced to teach?
So, as a coordinator of student and resident education in what used to be a "non-teaching"
hospital system (I contest that they do not exist anymore), I commonly hear "...nope,
not going to do it." To the defense of some, they truly feel that they have no ability to
teach. I have been able to convince many that students and residents are like sponges for
medical knowledge and can learn something of value from everyone and anyone. All these
converts have become exceptional educators. Furthermore, if you strive to expand your
own knowledge and stay current, there is no better way to do so than to be questioned
by a youngster in medicine.
But for those other physicians that seem to see little value in medical education - should
they be required to teach? In my opinion, of course not. You got to love it to be good at
it. You must see value in the work to excel at it. To those "Medical Education Scrooges,"
just remember that you will be laying in a hospital bed someday. When those young fresh
faces come in and state that they will be taking care of you, I assume you will hope and
pray that one of us crazy, compassionate-about-teaching individuals held their hands and
walked them through their early days in medicine in order for them to deliver the best
possible care to you.

4

Fall 2019 Central PA Medicine


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CPM Fall 2019

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