At the beginning of my second semester as a bright-eyed first year medical student, our M1 class received an email regarding a series of mandatory patient safety modules that we needed to complete through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Now, any time a medical student hears the word “mandatory,” all sorts of sirens go off; with our schedules already more congested than we ever imagined, the thought of an additional mandatory item on our to-do list always evokes more than a few grumbles from fellow classmates. However, as I worked my way through the patient safety modules, I found myself increasingly captivated, inspired, and also rather shocked by what I was learning. Medical errors that compromise the safety and wellbeing of patients occur far more than I realized, and this directly clashes with a doctor’s obligation to “do no harm.” This raises various questions and ethical dilemmas whose importance cannot be understated, and I am eager to explore each of these for the betterment of both medicine and society.
Following completion of our modules, our class was given a lecture by the co-director of our school’s Quality Improvement Curriculum; at the end of the lecture, we were charged with the words, “Your duty starts now, as student doctors.” These words heavily impacted me because they gave me a sense of initiative and made me feel as though I can do something as a medical student. I do not have to merely sit back and soak in all of the statistics and staggering stories regarding mishaps in medicine, but I can and will continue to learn more and make contributions to ensuring safer care for my patients and patients around the world.
Attending the Telluride Experience this summer is important to me because it will allow me to take that first step in making contributions to an issue that I perceive as utterly important and relevant to my future, and an area that I am grateful to have been exposed to so early in my training. I believe that this session will serve as a unique opportunity for me to collaborate in an interprofessional setting as I work with brilliant minds to explore the pressing patient safety issues in medicine today and brainstorm solutions that will ideally impact medical care on a larger scale. As a medical student attending a school whose mission centers on bringing justice to the world through a patient-centered approach to medicine, and even incorporates a course titled “Patient-Centered Medicine” into its curriculum, I believe that the Telluride Experience is a perfect fit for my current training and my future career goals.
I am confident that I will bring much enthusiasm, insight, and valuable participation to the Telluride Experience, and I also possess the desire and ambition to take what I learn during this session beyond the classroom to serve as an advocate for patient safety and quality improvement in medicine. I want to ensure that I am living and breathing the concept of “do no harm” in my day-to-day practice so that I can be the best physician possible for my patients, and I believe the Telluride Experience will help me to accomplish this goal.