Tuesday, April 24, 2012

See one. Teach one.

I snapped this picture with my iPhone on rounds last month. That's Elicia S., an awesome fourth year medical student, standing there explaining a complicated plan to our patient. I was so proud of her and how much command she had of the room and what she was doing.  I also love the way our newly minted second-almost-third year student, Yasmin A., was watching her.


This? This is medical education at its finest. At the bedside. As a team. Learning and caring and explaining and growing. This image embodies how our team rolled last month. Time and energy went into building our students' and interns' confidence in talking to the patients more than talking to anyone else. The patients. Not just me, the attending. The patients. 

Explain what's wrong. Answer their questions. Feel a little "put on the spot." It's okay, though, because we are all at the bedside with you. And we are all in this thing together. You're damn right we are.

I was just hiding in the shadows observing that day. It was the last day on service for me and now the learners were in an amazing groove. And Elicia. Look at her standing all tall. Can't you just see the respect she is showing for that patient? And look at Yasmin. Watching. Learning. Growing right along with her. And man my chest was all poked out like a mama bird or better yet what my dear friend the profesora in Pittsburgh calls the "mama gallina." So I lifted my phone and covertly snapped this shot--one that wouldn't include our patient, of course, but would capture what I was seeing.

Because what I was seeing was awesome.

Bwwawwwk. Bwawwk. (Pardon me, that's just me having a mama gallina moment.)

And this? This is medical education at its finest. Yes, it is.

There's this old saying in medicine that goes "See one. Do one. Teach one." But you know? I'm thinking that maybe we need to focus less on the "do one" part and more on the other two. I looked at this picture over and over again last night while working on a campaign for our Academy of Medical Educators.

See one. Teach one. 

That was the thought that immediately popped into my head. If you see one, teach one. Period.

That goes for everyone. Patients. Students. Colleagues. Everyone. Pay attention. Watch someone teach and learn something. Listen to the patients and learn something. No matter how old you are or young they are. Or vice versa. It's all just a reminder to never miss an opportunity to teach the ones you see. All of them, even if it's something tiny like "that Ivory soap is actually making your skin drier" -- that's better than nothing.

So that's why this tzujj-ed up iPhone snapshot is one of the centerpieces of our Academy of Medical Educators. Because of what it captures. It captures the best of what we should be doing as medical educators. Yes, it does.

And no. We don't always get it right. I am the first to admit that. But sometimes? We do. We so do.

See one. Teach one. 

Man. If we can just master those two, seems like do one will take care of itself. Don't you think?


Happy Tuesday.


  1. I really enjoyed your thoughts this morning with my cup of Joe. It brought back the sweetest, fondest memories of med school and residency. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for instilling confidence in your 4th years. I see that lacking in so many of the student I see in rotation.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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