The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values.
- William R. Inge “If there was one thing I would have every medical student learn, it would be this …”
The woman was talking to her companion while moving down the clinic hallway. I passed her going the opposite direction and strained to listen for the end of her sentence. Unfortunately, by the time she reached the punch line, she was around the corner and out of earshot.
Still, it got me started thinking. What should
every medical student learn? What are the most important lessons
– both inside and outside of the curriculum?
Here is my attempt at a few things I would hope every medical student learns before graduation:
- That they will help their patients heal by simply being attentive, empathetic listeners.
- That not doing something is much harder than doing something.
- That they really can and should help their patients quit smoking.
- That they should always ask themselves, “What else might it be?” before settling on a diagnosis. (Borrowed from Jerome Groopman’s book, How Doctors Think)
- That procedures and tests don’t always help, are sometimes painful, and are usually more expensive that they could ever imagine.
- That they should never be satisfied with how much they know about either the science or the art of Medicine.
I will never know how the woman in the hallway finished her sentence, but I would bet that a lot of you have a thought about this topic. You have seen my quick list. Hit the “Feedback” link below and share what you think are the most important lessons every medical student should learn. I will try to print many of the responses.
||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
I am a nurse here are a couple of things I would suggest:
If the student was in that hospital bed how would they want to be treated/spoken to or touched?
Please wite your orders and sign your name so it can be read. None of us learned how to read squiggley lines in school!
When you become a resident and we have to call you for orders/pt updates or changes be nice. We all have long days/nights when we havent had alot of sleep or nothing seems to be going as planned.(not just medical students or Drs., nurses get tired and crabby to at timees)
How ever good or bad the situation it will change.
Laugh or cry with someone. It's more healing than doing it alone.
Be confident in what you say and do even though if you don't feel like you are.
Every person who works in the medical profession needs to know what the patients needs are this includes: mental, physical, social, financial, present, past and future needs. If they are seeing a doctor they should be treated by that doctor. We all have more than one need in our lives.
Nurses know the patients. Listen to their opinions and yes...even their suggestions.
i particularly respond to the one about tests. i certainly understand the need to reduce uncertainty, and that's good, but there have been so many times with our son when we've felt like we were a part of someone's "fascinating experiment" that never went anywhere. thanks for raising this important and [somewhat] risky issue.
- Richard Holloway
I am a radiographer/CT Tech/educator. I once had a med student ask me for general advice. This is what I told him. "Before you order a diagnostic test, ask yourself if the information you get from the test will enable you to improve the patient's outcome or quality of life. If the answer is no, don't order the test.
- Mary Hood