December 28, 2016
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?
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.
“I want to
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 […]
August 24, 2016
By Patricia Stubenberg “No words are ofterner on our lips than thinking and thought.” – John Dewey The teaching physician has opportunities for personal and professional growth through reflection and revisiting not only their own experiences in training and practice, but also their role as clinical teachers with medical students and residents. Studies on reflection in […]
August 2, 2016
By Wessam Ibrahim Learning Anatomy is a journey. All medical students have some memories about their anatomy courses; some have good memories and some don’t. It’s October 1995. I was a first-year medical student at my medical school in Egypt. I had never seen a corpse except in horror movies. I was so scared and […]
July 26, 2016
By Josh Hopps It is the end of the USMLE Step 1 exam season in undergraduate medical education. If UME is a solar system, Step 1 is the sun, irradiating and superheating some, leaving others cold and frozen out, and supporting life for those who thrive in intense and constrained circumstances. Its enormous gravity pulls […]
July 18, 2016
By Emily Anderson Medical school curricula now emphasize evidence-based medicine. We also need to prioritize evidence-based educational strategies. There are some great educational innovations happening at our medical school, but too few publications highlighting these. Conducting research on medical education faces many barriers, not least of all, lack of funding. Publication in any peer-reviewed academic […]