Academic Institutions Are For Teaching

It irks me when nurses, attendings, and more senior residents from various specialties complain about having to cater to a junior resident or medical student’s intellectual or procedural ineptitude. Please wake up and realize where you are – academic institutions are for teaching.

Many of my colleagues in anesthesia get flustered when an intern or medical student has the opportunity to participate in procedures. ALL of us were newcomers in our respective specialties at some point. We weren’t born knowing how to place a central line, perform an endotracheal intubation, tie a surgical knot, place a Foley catheter, etc. Skills come with practice, and practice requires patience.

Teaching ultrasound skills while on call

These are the moments where learning takes place. We need to promote and nurture them. Let the more junior team members make mistakes under the watchful eye of the seasoned residents. Let that med student spend twice as long suturing a wound. To me, if their attending is comfortable enough letting them do it, who am I to stand in the way?

Next time you see someone struggling with a procedure, remember the days where you too were a novice and needed guidance from an upper-level to facilitate the growth of your skills. 🙂

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