“Pobrecito”– she said as we discussed the patient’s pneumonia course before entering his room.
“Pobrecito” – she repeated as we donned our gloves.
“Pobrecito”- she mouthed to us in front of our patient.
“Pobrecito”- she whispered in my ear as we left the room.
That day, “pobrecito” became a word I eliminated from my vocabulary. In Spanish “Pobrecito” translates roughly to “poor thing” or “poor baby” and it is an appropriate word to use to show empathy with an endearing connotation. However, when one of the healthcare providers in the team used it incessantly to show pity in front of my 60 year old patient with cerebral palsy and dementia I began to cringe every time I heard her say it.Read More »
By Jeffery D. Fritz, Sandra Pfister, Diane Wilke-Zemanovic, Sally Twining and Jose Franco.
Can we incorporate into the curriculum a quick and easy way to promote awareness and the practice of wellness by both medical school faculty and students? At the start of the fall 2017 term, course directors overseeing first- and second-year pre-clinical instruction at the Medical College of Wisconsin encouraged each faculty member to develop a simple communication slide. These instructors were asked to include an introductory slide noting their practices of wellness to be shown at some point in their instructional block. The exact content of this slide was not prescribed; however, all participants were encouraged to include images and personalize the content to the degree that they felt comfortable. Given the magnitude of this initiative – it would involve over 300 different faculty members and reach over 500 first and second year students across three campus locations – it was hoped that voluntary participation by faculty would be sufficient to would significantly enhance student and faculty awareness and practice of wellness/wellbeing.
Faculty participation across the 13 pre-clinical first and second year courses was surveyed throughout the academic year by reviewing the recorded sessions for inclusion of the introductory wellness content at any time during the session.Read More »
On a bright early morning while getting ready for work, suddenly, something went “Swoosh” in my head. I saw double and felt dizzy with eyes open. Horrified, I returned back to my bed. In a few moments I began to play out various scenarios in my mind. Each potential diagnosis that flashed in front of me had an ominous outcome although my mind was clear. I woke up my husband, a physician, who examined me and said “I am calling our neurosurgeon neighbor”. It was a remarkable Friday when the world seemed to be crashing down on me.
I was a 40-year-old, happily married doctor with three loving young children. Our family had just moved into a new home. I was also enjoying a successful academic career. I wanted to live. I was simply afraid to die!Read More »
I am no stranger to disseminating information to a group of individuals junior to me. As a resident and fellow, I have taught many medical students in a classroom setting. As I think back to these sessions now, I find that they were all in a setting where the student’s presence was mandatory; a review session, a laboratory etc. Nevertheless, my love for teaching grew in those sessions. My passion for novel pedagogical approaches to pathology education led me to seek a faculty position. I felt that there was so much I could try and achieve. I was very excited to become pathology faculty. What a great honor. I couldn’t wait to meet my students.
Last fall, as I walked in to my first lecture, I found a half-empty classroom. Rows upon rows of…. no one. Who will be the beneficiaries of my innovative theoretical pedagogy? This was even more unusual since the lecture in question is one of the first three lectures of the M2 curriculum, typically scheduled for the first day! In the few years I have been teaching this course, I always found the entire class showing up for Day 1.Read More »
Teaching is something that I have been doing for over 20 years. So, in general, I don’t worry about it. I think I know what works and does not work.
Things were very different for me this time. I was worried, and I felt very much out of my ‘comfort zone’ almost in my ‘panic zone’ (Brown, 2008; Palethorpe & Wilson, 2011). I had developed an intersession for M1 and M2 medical students on how to optimize their learning processes in the clinical setting through goal setting, self-regulation, receiving and seeking feedback. The content on feedback I am familiar with, from goal-setting and self-regulation, -I assume- I know more than average.
I tried to discover my fears. What is worrying me?Read More »
Every March I run the last required course at our medical school. It’s a three-week-long, 47-hour sprint – a sort of boot camp for professional formation. We polish clinical skills, revisit foundational sciences, let students pick from a menu of interesting tutorials, and discuss professional formation.
Students grapple with hypothetical gastrointestinal crises on scatalogically-named student teams. They resuscitate rubbery patients with various flavors of hypotension. I don a sparkly red bowtie to MC a game show called Antibiotic Jeopardy.
Throughout, we discuss the evolution of their professional identities. I ask how their idealism has changed during medical school, and every year over 60% say it has waned. We share the stories that shape us, and how they can stay true to the values that brought them to medical school in the first place. Then they hand in a tall stack of confidential essays that I reply to on nights and weekends right up until the day they speak the Hippocratic Oath. Read More »
Coming out of my first year of medical school I struggled with my sense of confidence. After endless nights of studying, a multitude of experiences at our Clinical Training and Assessment Center, and specialized clinical experiences, I felt that I could take on the challenge of counseling patients. On the other hand, when I thought about being on my own to take care of patients, I was terrified. My pharmacology knowledge was insufficient, and even though I knew how to conduct a full physical exam, did I really know what was normal compared to abnormal? These questions proved to me that I lacked the clinical experience necessary to become a good physician.
When I heard of the opportunity to apply for the Leroy Rogers Preceptorship, I immediately knew that it could help bridge the gap between my medical textbooks and clinical knowledge. This program gives preclinical students the opportunity to choose a preceptor for a four week, hands-on family medicine clinical experience. I had shadowed a family physician, Dr. Andrews, in my hometown several times before so I knew he would be the perfect preceptor. I also felt that I would learn from his patients, especially because many are medically underserved.Read More »
Since graduating from Wellesley College in 2015, I have experienced a paradigm shift from always searching for what is next to remaining committed to what lies straight ahead. Strong personal and professional mentorship in my first career as a professional athlete set the stage for me to excel when I resumed my university education. At Wellesley, mentorship again played a key role when I joined a neuroscience lab. Inspiring leaders helped me to gain the skills and confidence to succeed, encouraging me to take whatever career path I chose. But choosing was hard!
Now, as a second year medical student, this lifetime of support from powerful mentorship and a healthy respect for transformation guide me in navigating – and sticking with – my burgeoning career…Read More »
“You’re making a terrible decision.” The surgical fellow was on a rant. I stood silently for some thirty minutes trying to maintain my composure as he criticized my decision to apply for a pediatrics residency. This memorable event occurred during my surgical rotation, and yes, during a surgery. Apparently, in this fellow’s view, the biggest problem with pediatrics is that it is a team-based field. When people work as a team, he insisted, everyone “needs to have their own say and nothing gets done.” Instead, he argued for a more directive approach – say what needs to be done and that’s it. End of story, no questions asked…
Medical School is rough. Fortunately there is a recent movement to make medical education more humane. The movement to bring humanity, ethics, and love back into the molding of our future physicians is crucial. Personally, I felt my medical school was on the forefront of this push. Perhaps it was because we had Jesuit priests for attendings and the hospital’s motto of “We also treat the human spirit” filtered into the treatment of students. Whether it was something about myself or my medical school, I was fortunate to never experience the depression, competitive urges, burnout and isolation that is so prevalent during American medical school years… Read More »