Tag: medical education

Blog Posts (45)

February 21, 2017

The Aftergift

“… and maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singing; Funny, when you’re dead how people start listen’n…” If I Die Young (2010) by The Band Perry It was in the fall of 2015 that I received a call from a Mrs. Jones.  She went on to detail how her husband, Robert, had died […]
February 7, 2017

Loss: The Hidden Barrier to Professional Identity Formation

By Meaghan P. Ruddy Paying attention to the wider trends in medical education recently makes it difficult to miss the growing voice of Pamela Wible, MD and her crusade to end physician, resident and medical student suicides.  One premise of her argument is that all the language around burnout and resilience misses the point.  The […]
January 25, 2017

DACA Medical Students- Making America Great Again!

By Kimrey Van Perre My friends have been called “courageous” for sharing their plight as undocumented students with the US Congress.  They have been called “DREAMers” due to the Dream Act that has been repeatedly introduced in Congress but never passed.  I call them “selfless” and “unrelenting” in their commitment to the medically underserved despite […]
January 17, 2017

Stories from the Border: Hearing the Voice of All Community Members

By Audrey Hertenstein We shuffled through the metal detector and were directed to stand with our backs against a wall – the final step in an hour long process to enter the Florence, AZ Detention Center to visit with detainees the organization Mariposas sin Fronteras had been communicating with to offer assistances such as letters […]
December 28, 2016

Albany Medical College May be the Best Medical School in the Country

I realize that this is not the assessment of the US News and World Report, or other major organizations that rank US medical schools, but I believe it quite possibly is true.  Organizations that rank medical schools look at dollars of research grant funding, or the test scores of the students, but what is really important is the quality of the physician they graduate.  But what do we mean by quality?  And who should be the judge of this?

A survey of patients in a primary care setting revealed that the most important quality that they sought in their physicians was empathy.  More important than even clinical skill or knowledge, they wanted a physician who listened and cared.  This response cut across demographics—the old, young, rich, poor, all ranked empathy as the most important quality of a physician. And shouldn’t patients be the ones to tell us what is most valuable in a physician, and by extension what the most important mission of medical schools must be?

The curriculum of medical schools across the country differs little in terms of the basic sciences taught and clinical rotations of the last two years.  Students from Harvard and Albany need to pass the same standardized tests to graduate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t differences.  Students at Albany Medical College spend more time learning ethics, and discussing the humanistic aspects of clinical care during their last two years of medical school than any other medical school I have yet discovered.  When Dr Shelton and I discussed our curriculum at a national bioethics conference two years ago, educators from other schools were shocked at how much curriculum time we had with students during their clinical years, and none had anything close to comparable.

I just finished six one-and-a-half hour sessions with third-year students on their internal medical clerkship.  At the end I asked them whether it had helped them.  The fact that I do not grade them at all made their answers less suspect, and to a person they praised the time we had spent together. 

            “A chance to reflect.”

            “Helping me stay human.”

            “I want to keep feeling.”

At that same bioethics conference I listened to a talk on teaching empathy during medical school, and I kept thinking that the speaker had it all wrong.  Our job is to preserve empathy, not teach it, and we preserve it by allowing students the opportunity to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with each other in a safe environment.  We do that. Others should follow our example.  A third-year student told me that the best examples of compassionate patient care came from the residents who had trained at Albany Medical College as medical students, and that she believed it was the ethics curriculum that was making the difference.

NIH grants, and licensing exam scores are not unimportant, and Albany Medical College is a good medical school by any marker chosen.  But by the marker chosen by patients, we may, in fact, be the best.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.

December 27, 2016

ICYMI: The Best of Reflective MedEd

With the holidays upon us, we are taking this opportunity to showcase a few excellent posts from the year gone by.  We invite you to check out these highly popular posts. Darrell G. Kirch, MD, “Educating for Resilience and Humanism in an Uncertain Time.” https://reflectivemeded.org/2016/09/27/educating-for-resilience-and-humanism-in-an-uncertain-time/   Hedy Wald, PhD, “Becoming Zusha: Reflecting on Potential in […]
December 6, 2016

Lessons Learned from a Beatbox Heart

By Tim Lahey Two days ago, Jimmy stuck a used needle into the soft skin of his forearm, and released 20 milligrams of black tar heroin and a bolus of bacteria into his blood. The bacteria floated from vein to artery as he nodded, eventually sticking themselves to the ragged edge of his aortic valve.  […]
November 29, 2016

Our Devices, Our Selves: How to Avoid Practicing Distracted Doctoring

By Laura Vearrier Americans check their phones an average of 46 times per day, (Eadicicco 2015) and they do so no matter what they are doing, including while driving, while at church, during sex, or out to dinner. (Rodriguez 2013) Are healthcare providers any different?  In a survey of medical students, 46 % reported texting, […]
October 25, 2016

Memento Mori- Reflecting on my Death and the Education of Medical Students

By Laura Creel As part of their undergraduate medical education, students discuss end-of-life care; they hear lectures about valuing the lives and deaths of future patients; they are instructed in the legal issues surrounding advance directives and care planning.  They see death, too—see it in the cadavers that they incise, see it in patients who […]
September 27, 2016

Educating for Resilience and Humanism in an Uncertain Time

By Darrell G. Kirch We face a crisis of well-being in medicine. From the acceleration of science to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, rapid change has become the “new normal” for our profession.  While many of the changes have the potential to revolutionize health care, they also create stress and uncertainty within our […]

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News (1)

July 10, 2012 4:28 pm

FDA unveils safety measures for opioid painkillers (Fox News)

Drugmakers that market powerful painkiller medications will be required to fund training programs to help U.S. doctors and other health professionals safely prescribe the drugs, which are blamed for thousands of fatal overdoses each year.  The safety plan released by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday is designed to reduce misuse and abuse of long-acting opioid pain relievers, which include forms of morphine, methadone and oxycodone. The agency’s plan mainly involves educating doctors and patients about appropriate use of the drugs.