Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sometimes Missing the Point

One of my colleagues reminded me today that our education, in theory, should help us sharpen our attention, mental dexterity, problem solving and analytical dexterity.

However, medical school in its current form is not necessarily designed to develop these abilities.  Medical education places great prestige on rote-memorization and test-taking skills as the supposed predictors of one's future success as a physician. It is any wonder why so many patients can't connect with their physicians? Wouldn't be a great goal to have medical school select and develop skills that foster meaningful patient relationships and interactions with a sprinkle of essential communication skills?

Dr. Warfield Theobald Longcope is credited with saying, "Each patient ought to feel somewhat better after the physician's visit, irrespective of the nature of the illness." Shouldn't that philosophy be the guiding force behind the imagehuman aspect of our training? Alas, it is not, particularly in the basic science years. I love the science of medicine, but I miss (already) the patients. That will be a guiding "picture" in my mind about why I'm here on what my colleague referred to as the "penal colony" today. It's really not that bad. I feel right at home here, minus my Mom's great cooking, and my Dad's sage advice.