Teachable Moments

There are frequently paramedic students in the ED as part of their clinical rotations. I enjoy having them around…but they’ve got a tough job to learn, I think. On one hand, they need to practice skills like IV starts and blood draws and spend a lot of time with the nurses & techs doign EKGs. But they also have to practice patient assessment and figuring out how to treat in the field, and so they sometimes spend a lot of time with the doctors seeing patients and reading the EKGs they’ve just done.

In some ways, I like them more than I like medical students…the medic students are not trying to impress me (unless they think I’m cute), and are eager to learn. The medical students (student doctors) are frequently intimidated and do what they’re told no matter how hard you try to make it a friendly working environment for them…and have the impression that if I like them, they’ll get into our residency (far from true). Medical school ingrains such an attitude of heirarchy and teaching by “pimping” (the socratic method), that trying to have an easy going conversation is next to impossible, especially for medical students that have come straight from college.

Just some personal thoughts for whatever they’re worth. If you’re a medical student reading this…don’t ever do work just to impress someone. Just try to learn whatever you can from every patient you see…and if they are capable of teaching and not just scutting, from the residents too.

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