April showers brought May flowers, and May brought a bumper crop of insightful blog posts from across the world of academic medicine. Naturally, the end of the school year brings finals, graduation, and anxiety. Cooper Rowan School of Medicine took on student stress proactively, observing National Stress Awareness Day in conjunction with its Student National Medical Association Chapter. In her post, “Keeping the Doctor Well,” Patricia Vanston, associate dean for program and business development, recounts her recent visit to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, which has a national reputation for its student wellness programs. You can read more about those in our June 2012 post, “Cultural Change for Students’ Health and Humanity.” As Vanston notes, AAMC research reveals a high prevalence of stress among medical students and can retard the development of their patient engagement skills, so no effort in this area is wasted.
Also along the wellness theme, Stanford Medicine reports on Scope about its efforts to promote healthy eating and a positive body image on college campuses. The “Body Positive” initiative provides youth and adults with tools and strategies to overcome self-destructive eating and exercise behaviors. Its creators worked with a group of 19 students over the past year to change cultural beliefs of beauty and health on campus. Those students helped to devise a curriculum that they then taught to their peers in five different residency programs.
Over at The Doctor’s Tablet, Stephen Baum, MD, senior associate dean for students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, blogs about the college’s graduation ceremony on May 28, noting that “it is not an end but a beginning.” He writes:
Graduating M.D. students will learn at least as much essential information in their residencies as they have during med school, and the application of that information will take on a real-world significance that it never quite had when they were students. They have the potential to become experts in their fields and will further develop their sense of professionalism and what it means to serve the sick.
Their time will increasingly become less their own, but with continued focus and a bit of luck, their sense of accomplishment and gratification from making “that terrific diagnosis,” occasionally saving a life, doing valuable research and teaching others what they know will make up for that.
Julia McGuinness, a third-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine, describes poignantly the meaning she finds in medicine as she recounts her first interaction with a patient on the Progress Notes blog. A bond of trust was developed as McGuinness questioned the patient about his life, habits, and family—a bond that eventually persuaded the patient to return to the hospital to get the lifesaving procedure he needed (and feared). Previously having thought of herself as “just a medical student,” McGuinness concludes, “Medical students often feel like imposters playing dress up in doctors’ clothes. Insecurity certainly drives our quest for knowledge, but perhaps we should stand up a little straighter, a little taller, and a little more confident in our short white coats. After all, we’re not JUST medical students.”
As you know, innovation is our thing here at Wing of Zock. We’ve enjoyed two May posts on the subject, and think you will too. Over at ZocDoc’s The Doctor Blog, Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, offers physician entrepreneurs “Eight Tips for Turning Ideas into Innovation.” She notes that the “publish or perish” mentality that persists in academic medicine can severely restrict the “tinkering around” that can lead to innovation. One of her tips: Do reconnaissance work.
AJ Montpetit expands on that theme in his post for the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation blog, “Three Steps for Observation in Innovation.” We’ll give you the first two: Document; and Synthesize and Interpret. Read the post yourself to get the third step; then you’ll know what to do.
On Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, Brent Thoma tackles the issue of grade inflation and assessment in medical education, noting that 78 percent of U.S. residency program directors think it is a serious problem; 38 percent admitted passing students they believe should have failed. He reviews a systems approach to anesthesiology resident evaluation that was published in 2011 as possibly translatable to emergency medicine residents, and even includes a recording of a Google Hangout with the original article’s author, Keith Baker, MD.
Chart Review is a monthly feature in which the editors at Wing of Zock highlight our favorite blog posts from the previous month. We focus on blogs about academic medicine, whether from the perspective of student, resident, faculty member, dean, or administrator. Medical schools and teaching hospitals provide fertile ground for innovative responses to health care challenges. We are pleased to highlight some of the best here, and hope you will send us your favorites as well. As always, we encourage cross posting.