With fourth-year almost complete, I’ve reflected on my experiences throughout medical school. One thing I noticed is how poorly teaching is incentivized for residents and medical students. Fellow med students, think about how you write notes. You are afraid of being wrong. Let’s be honest here, as third-years we barely have any idea what is going on, and we’re constantly on UpToDate looking up how to manage disease processes or whether to order imaging. Why is it structured this way? Why are we so afraid of making mistakes and learning from them. We pay nearly 50k a year to learn, and yet we’re doing most of the learning ourselves. Something is wrong here.
The same thing applies to residents. For the most part, the residents are figuring this stuff out themselves. Don’t get me wrong, autonomy is important and learning from doing is a big part of how I learn. However, what strikes me is how afraid and nervous we are presenting because we’re afraid of being chewed out by chiefs or the attendings. I don’t see any point in working/learning in an environment like this. Why do we create and perpetuate an environment that uses fear as a motivator?
In addition, there are times where you’re on a rotation as a medical student and you’re never taught anything. You’re either used to see more patients, or you’re left to fend for yourself and a resident or attending doesn’t bother to explain or teach you anything.
I think the culture is changing, but this does happen too often. Let’s change this!