The Value of Reflection in Clinical Teaching

By Patricia Stubenberg

“No words are ofterner on our lips than thinking and thought.”  – John Dewey

The teaching physician has opportunities for personal and professional growth through reflection and revisiting not only their own experiences in training and practice, but also their role as clinical teachers with medical students and residents.  Studies on reflection in teaching are abundant including, Freese’s work on Reframing One’s Teaching1, Dewey’s Art of Reflection2, and the theoretical underpinnings of reflective engagement, metacognition, and transformative learning.  The literature on reflection in clinical teaching is expanding through scholars including, Irby et al.3 and Sanders4.  This essay offers perspective on the value of reflective activity to advance medical education in training the next generation of physicians…
Read More »

Learning Anatomy: Between Fear and Reality

By Wessam Ibrahim

Learning Anatomy is a journey.  All medical students have some memories about their anatomy courses; some have good memories and some don’t.

It’s October 1995.  I was a first-year medical student at my medical school in Egypt.  I had never seen a corpse except in horror movies.  I was so scared and I really thought that those bodies weren’t real. The instructor started “Well, who would like to start dissection?”  I whispered to myself this guy must be crazy.  He continued: “You guys have to do it”. OMG, I guess I will have to cut that dead body. Surprisingly I volunteered.

Years were going so fast.  I graduated from medical school and decided to have anatomy as my career.  How did I do that? Again, I don’t know; but I know that I am so passionate about teaching medical students and my utmost joy is to see them succeed in medicine…
Read More »

Social Scientists in Medical Education: Important Contributors to the Educational Mission

By Bobbie Ann Adair White and Leila Diaz

When we began our careers in medical education in the early 2000s, our roles (Student Affairs and Admissions) were adjacent to those of educators but not truly intertwined in content development and delivery. We found there were opportunities to create and lobby for co-curricular social sciences content, but often these were ancillary to the basic and clinical sciences. However, in the mid 2000s content such as leadership, and interprofessional education began to gain traction, and the popularity of small group delivery methods grew. These trends opened doors for social scientists to contribute more meaningfully within the curriculum…
Read More »

Sacred and Profane: Balancing the sanctity of the human body with the mechanics of cadaver dissection

By Michael Dauzvardis

Often heard on the first day of anatomy lab:

“Oh— I’m so glad the cadaver doesn’t look real. It is gray and ashen.  The skin is wrinkled and the head is shaven. I can do this— I’ll make the first cut.”

In fall, in medical schools across the country, students begin their initial rite of passage on their journey to becoming a physician by undertaking the task of cadaver dissection.  It is the job of the anatomy faculty to assist the students in this profane act by teaching them how to use scalpels, long knives, saws, hammers, and chisels in the disassembly of the human body.  At the same time, it is also the job of the anatomy faculty, campus ministry, and other enlightened students to hit the “spiritual reset button” and remind all dissectors not to neglect the “human” in human dissection.  Most medical schools now have an opening (and closing) ceremony focusing on the sacredness of the human body and the unselfish gift and generosity of the donors…

Read More »

Landing the Role of a Lifetime

Hearing the Call:  A Feature on How Physicians and Medical Educators Came to Understand their Vocation

By Kerensa Peterson

Sometimes, a place just feels right, like home.  When I entered the Clinical Education Center for the first time, I immediately felt calm—an unusual feeling before an audition.  When I arrived, I made my way to a chair in the back of the room where I had a great view of Harvey, the heart simulator.  I wondered how he might fit into this audition scenario.  Two gentlemen walked in and introduced themselves as trainers to a room full of expectant actors.  I was hooked – from the moment they started to explain the role of a Standardized Patient.  I have never before had such a relaxing and intriguing audition… Read More »

What is the Future of Ethics Education in Medical Schools?

By Micah Hester

In 2004, Lisa Lehman and colleagues noted that “Despite widespread agreement that ethics should be taught [in medical schools], there is little formal consensus concerning what, when, and how medical ethic is best taught” (2004, 682).  Eleven years later, the Project to Rebalance and Integrate Medical Education (PRIME) group in its Romanell Report (2015) followed like Lehman when saying, “Despite broad consensus on the importance of teaching medical ethics and professionalism, there is no consensus about the specific goals of medical ethics education for future physicians, the essential knowledge and skills learners should acquire, the best methodologies and processes for instruction, and the optimal strategies for assessment.”  In other words, we know that the content, form, place, and number of hours in the curriculum devoted to the ethics (and related concerns such as professionalism and values clarification) varies greatly.  There are roughly 170 medical schools (both allopathic and osteopathic) in the United States and Canada, and there are roughly 170 different ways that ethics is taught to medical students across the continent…
Read More »

What’s Laremy Tunsil Got To Do With It? Professionalism, Social Media, and Medical Education

By Mark Kuczewski

On April 28, 2016, ten minutes before the NFL draft of college players was to begin, the Twitter account of Laremy Tunsil of the University of Mississippi, displayed a video of him wearing a gas mask and smoking from a bong.  Mr. Tunsil was a talented prospect widely believed about to become the second player drafted.  He had done an imprudent action at some point and, allegedly, a hacker made the video record available to the world.  A panic swept through the NFL executives making selections for their teams.  Mr. Tunsil was not selected second as predicted but was passed over until the Miami Dolphins took him with the number thirteen pick in the draft.  Because higher draft picks receive larger contracts than those drafted later, commentators estimate that the drop in draft rank likely cost Mr. Tunsil at least $8,000,000…

Read More »

What is a Doctor and What is a Nurse? As Patients, We Have the Answer

By Aaron Michelfelder and Fran Vlasses

As the health care professions struggle with defining a “doctor,” a “nurse,” and all of the other remarkable people comprising the health-care team, it is clear to us that the most important perspective is that of the patient.  Who better to contribute to the conversation than a physician and a nurse who are patients themselves?

The Patient (a physician) on “What is a Nurse?”

It was the outpatient nurse whom I nervously called for an appointment with the surgeon, and who compassionately found a reasonably soon appointment time. At the visit, it was her gentle voice that immediately calmed me, and she who corrected the medication errors in my electronic chart. Later, as I lay on the hospital gurney awaiting surgery, it was the pre-op nurse who recognized the fear on my stoic face. She was the one who squeezed my hand and whispered, “Everything will be alright.” In the operating room through a haze of machines, bright lights, sedatives, and scattered voices, it was the pacemaker nurse, whom I have come to know well over many years, who triggered in me a wave of relief as she deactivated my defibrillator in preparation for surgery.  Before the anesthesia, her face was the last I remember seeing, and hers was the first I saw when groggily recovering as she reactivated my defibrillator She who first relayed the good news of the successful surgery. It was the shaking hands of the student nurse, who attempted to change the IV bag, and his confident nurse professor who together, did everything right. At home, it was the surgical nurse practitioner who called to check on my recovery, and whose compassion and support bubbled through the phone.  All of these extraordinary individuals have different training, duties, and approaches to health care; and yet as a patient, I recognize each of them as a nurse…
Read More »

Illness As An Opportunity for Reflection: Enabling the Unseen To Be Seen

By David Leach

On March 1st my aortic valve was replaced. I received extraordinary care, was discharged on the third postoperative day, and am doing very well. When I arrived from the operating room to the intensive care unit I had an endotracheal tube, two chest tubes, an arterial line, a jugular vein Swan-Ganz catheter, two 14 gauge intravenous lines, a urinary catheter, various chest leads monitoring my heart rhythm, a pulse oxygen monitor and I have rarely felt better. In fact I was filled with joy. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons rates the 1300 plus cardiovascular surgery programs in the U.S. and I was happy to discover that my local thoracic surgery program was highly rated. I was grateful to have a disease that was fixable and a surgeon who knew how to fix it. I was also terrified at what I would have to go through to get it fixed. I did not anticipate joy…
Read More »

Awareness Creation in Healthcare Should be a Priority in the Developing World

By Calvince Owiti

I was born about two decades ago in a small village in Western parts of Kenya.  I grew up in a humble background, learning all that was relevant that time.  My grandparents were herbal medical practitioners.  I lived with them most of my early life even though my parents were still alive. My grandfather kept on calling me ‘ajuoga’(meaning doctor).  Before he became a herbalist, he had been to a seminary where he was training as a father but left before finishing for a driving job in Tanzania.  He could urge me every morning to study hard in class to become a modern doctor.  They could treat all conditions, including malaria, curses as well as a number of obstetric/gynecological conditions.  However; there was one practice that kept me wondering…

Read More »