Be an Agent for Change
Don’t automatically transfer the way you learned or the ways you were taught into how you teach your own students. “Learning and teaching are very different,” says Dr. Wiese. “Learning knowledge is focused on the details. Teaching is much more [about] how you put that knowledge into play.”
That kind of transference is easily recognizable in a situation where a student asks “Can you teach me something this afternoon?” and the hospitalist replies, “Well, let me go home tonight and prepare, and then I’ll teach you.”
“What they’re saying is, ‘Let me read up, make a list of facts—maybe worse, maybe put it in PowerPoint,’ ” says Dr. Wiese. “The student could have done that on his or her own.”
Because hospitalists are intimately familiar with the hospital system, they serve as agents of change, Dr. Wiese says.
“Hospitalists are the key group at the first level of being able to take a student or resident or fellow and say, ‘These are the patients, we’re on hospital wards, and let me show you how to put in action the knowledge and skills you have to make a success for your patients,’ ” he says.
Hospitalists know where the system doesn’t work. “The great hospitalist doesn’t [face a problem and think], ‘Oh, woe is me; I’m hopelessly at the whim of the system that is broken,” says Dr. Wiese. “A great hospitalist consistently looks at [the situation] and asks, ‘How can I improve this system?’ The only way that medical students and residents can move out of the helpless role where [they see themselves as] servants of the system is to have hospitalist teachers who have a perspective of themselves as owners and who take responsibility for improving the system. Nothing has to be the way that it is,” says Dr. Wiese. TH
Andrea Sattinger is a frequent contributor to The Hospitalist.
- Pressel DM. Hospitalists in medical education: coming to an academic medical center near you. J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 Sep;98(9):1501-1504.