As a first-year medical student, I spent a lot of time trying things for the first time. Very few of these “first-time” events were procedures, but I anticipate a day in which it will be necessary for me to perform something more advanced like my first set of sutures or my first biopsy. While simulation is incredibly valuable, performing a procedure on a patient is irreplaceable; it’s a necessary part of the medical education process. However, entrusting a completely green medical student with a task that requires some level of skill is not without risks. As we discuss the importance of informed consent, I find myself wondering to what extent revolutionizing medical culture to improve our informed consent process will impact medical education. Will patients frequently dissent to procedures when told a medical student will be taking point, or will they be more inclined to allow medical students to perform… Continue reading
Today I was introduced to the concept of premature closure, the practice of latching on to a diagnosis too early before considering all the conditions that should be in the differential. Having just finished my first year of medical school, I’m not surprised to hear that this accidental practice exists, especially after reflecting upon the education I’ve received over the course of the last year. Immediately, I can identify two aspects of undergraduate medical education that contribute to its prevalence.
First, a message that I’ve heard repeated over and over again this year is the idea that medicine is about memorizing disease scripts and being able to recognize them when they present in clinic. At my institution, this is enforced by our examinations: most of our question stems involve a patient case, and to solve the question, the student must recognize the condition the patient is suffering from and… Continue reading