“Teach residents…really? You want to add yet another time-consuming responsibility to my already hectic schedule?” Residency. The mere mention of the word conjures up chilling memories of 3 am codes, 20-30 hour zombie shifts, and anxiety and stress levels that we never knew before and, fortunately, have not known since. That was a time in life many of us want to put in the deepest recesses of our minds, never to emerge again.
But, on the other hand, there were a lot of good things about our residency training that we should probably never forget, such as the humility with which we approached patient care. At that time in our lives we gladly acknowledged we did not know everything and we were eager to research each and every condition to get a firm handle on what we could and should do to help our patients get better.
Fast forward a decade or two. Now many of us have spouses, children, aging parents, mortgages, and retirement accounts we are feverishly trying to fund. There never seems to be enough time to finish even the most fundamental responsibilities. Not to mention now there are national initiatives, mandatory rules, and sometimes frightening regulations in place that dramatically impact how we practice medicine and sometimes make us feel more like automatons than the physicians we dreamed of becoming when we first applied to medical school years ago.
With all of our current and future responsibilities, how can the average hospitalist embrace young physicians and pour himself into their lives? Or, perhaps the question is better asked, how can we not? None of us morphed from a green medical school graduate to a knowledgeable, well-respected physician without a great deal of hand holding (and sometimes hand wringing), encouragement and investment of time from our teaching attendings. But even if you are hesitant to invest the time and energy to teach resident physicians should you have the opportunity. Keep in mind, in 2015 we are not only teaching them, they are teaching us too!
Young physicians are overflowing with technological knowledge that many of us have never been exposed to, knowledge that can help escalate our own skill sets. They bring fresh ideas, novel approaches to patient care, and frequently, cutting edge medical innovations from the universities from which come.
So, if you are ever asked to teach our future colleagues, remember: you may very well find that the time you invest benefits you as much, if not more, than it does them.
Dr. Hester is a hospitalist at Baltimore-Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, Md. She is the creator of the Patient Whiz, a patient-engagement app for iOS. Reach her at email@example.com.