Engaging with learners keeps you dedicated to lifelong learning, and teaching helps to maintain clinical excellence and the joy of medicine.
Working all of my career in and around an academic center I’ve had the privilege of teaching medical students and pediatric residents. The commitment to teach requires time and dedication that sometimes can add strain to an already stressful day. However, the positive impact to both teacher and learner include commitment to lifelong learning and reaffirming the joy of medicine.
My favorite part of my week is the afternoon session I spend with pediatric residents precepting their continuity clinic. Residency is stressful and time consuming, but continuity clinic is the one place where they can experience medical practice in a controlled, relatively predictable environment.
The residents get to forget about their ward responsibilities and focus on gaining independence in delivering medical care. They learn how to manage a group of patients over a long period of time. They develop relationships with families and children that forever impact their approach to medical care. Whether they go into primary care or a specialty, they learn valuable lessons in the cornerstones of clinical excellence: professionalism, humanism, clinical acumen, skillful negotiation of the healthcare system, and communication.
As their clinical preceptor I’m challenged to remain current with medical knowledge and model the domains of clinical excellence. I need to be at the top of my game each and every week, and the benefits are tremendous.
My residents teach me new things all the time. They remind me why I went into medicine and pediatrics. Their young minds and energy inspire me to be better each and every week. They keep me grounded in the important things like delivering high quality patient care that is continuous and genuine, advocating for children and families, and lifelong learning.
I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach students of medicine. Engaging in teaching helps to maintain clinical excellence and the joy of medicine.