Today I want to recognize the time you spend with our medical learners. Our current construct in medical education is dependent on your teaching efforts.

There is no shortage of ideas when it comes to the analysis of what impacts our students’ ability to learn and perform. Control value theory argues that our emotions and motivations are major components of our performance. Central to this idea, is the tenet to teach in a manner that makes the content relevant.

'Storytime' is one opportunity I use to connect with my learners. During down time or in case reviews, I will often purposefully tangent in order to highlight potential pitfalls to patient care, struggles with career path or even current events. Some of my stories, from the decision to briefly pursue a career as a urologist, to the time as a resident when I completed a full neurological consult on the wrong patient in the wrong room, are designed to add some levity to a difficult day.

But in so doing, I also open myself up for criticism. I am a believer that in sharing my foibles, I bridge the gap between student and teacher. My hope is that my learners will become more comfortable to ask questions in this safe setting.

I urge you to find ways to connect with your learners in a way you find comfortable. Encourage the respectful questioning of your diagnostic or management decisions. When we do this, we are not only teaching the art and science of our craft, but also are forced to consider our own understanding of our patient’s presentation and the rationale behind our routines. Docendo discimus, or, by teaching, we learn.

As always, thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Assistant Dean, Hospital and Interfaculty Relations
Twitter: @larry_jacobs1