If I Could Teach Them One Lesson

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Registrars are meant to be clever people. Duh, they’ve graduated medicine and practised a few years and are brave enough to specialise. I’ve seen a lot of registrars do a lot of stupid things, but I won’t dwell on that because that’s not what today is about.

I recently heard a registrar complain, “If you think fourth years are bad, wait til you get the third years next week. I feel like a total babysitter! They don’t know how to do anything and I keep having to check up on them!”

I laughed along and told them to team each third year up with a fifth year to solve their problem. But that’s not what I really wanted to say.

I wanted to tell them how fortunate they are. What a big gift they’ve been given. They get to¬†INFLUENCE¬†the way those third years will view medicine forever. They get to influence the way they will do things for the rest of their professional lives. They get to give those third years confidence in what they are doing… or to deny them that confidence.

Registrars… you get to either make them hate ward rounds, or you can turn it into an experience where they will learn more in a few weeks than they have in their entire medical education thus far.

Do you realise what a huge opportunity that is? And a responsibility, yeah. But you’re doctors. C’mon, responsibility shouldn’t be new to you.

I had an amazing registrar for Internal Medicine in my third year, and a horrid one for Surgery. And as readers of this blog know, those impressions have remained.

I think medical professionals (and students) sometimes forget the benefits of community. You know that saying about how it takes a community to raise a child? It takes a community to raise a doctor too.

I’m so thankful that patient people taught me the simple things like histories and physicals, and helped me not to give up when I struggled to get IV-access on patients. I’ve had my fair share of impatient mentors, and they have had the potential to leave lasting horrid impressions.

Third years aren’t babies. In the medical world they are, perhaps, but they are also adults. So give them responsibilities. Teach them where you can.

Cherish your role in raising tomorrow’s doctors.

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10 thoughts on “If I Could Teach Them One Lesson

  1. Reading this post gave me warm fuzzies on the inside. You are absolutely right, it does take a community to raise a doctor. And doesn’t the word doctor in Latin mean ‘to teach’? I hope we continue to remember our awesome responsibility to cultivate being both healers and teachers in our practice.

  2. I feel good Knowing I’m not the only with both good and bad learning experiences but unfortunately more so of the bad cos for my surgical rotations for each year I got stuck with one professor who insulted me, my background, how I look, where I was from, to no end. I almost gave up medicine. But now I’m just immune to his attempts on humiliating me. I will remember him always as a guide to “what a mentor or even a human being should t do”

    • That’s shocking – have you tried laying a complaint against the guy? Being generally rude is one thing, but straight ad-hominem insults like that are not on! I’m glad you’ve managed not to let if affect your professional life though. Keep strong!

      • Aah… I don’t think he even deserves the attention of being complaint against to higher authorities :p ;) thanks for your support dear :)

  3. Pingback: Tips for New Student Interns: Part 1 | Whispers of a Barefoot Medical Student

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