In my opinion, this was the most interesting read for me this week. My father is a doctor, I have a couple of best friends who are doctors now, and I guess I’ve been to a doctor…or…whatever.
My friend, Sanjay, grew up with me from pre-school. We endured our middle school years together and attended a prom or two as dates. I say this without an ounce of reservation: Sanjay is a truly empathetic and selfless person. He’s also freaking brilliant. In fact, it was pretty much assumed that he would graduate from Duke and move on to medical school, but he wanted to work for a non-profit to help people sign up for healthcare in limited access Appalachian regions for a couple years before reluctantly accepting a spot in Harvard Medical School’s class of 2020(?). Anyways, I forced him to talk to me on the phone. He’s doing rotations right now.
Sanjay read the article entitled “When do medical students lose their empathy” before we spoke, giving him enough time to formulate his thoughts on the topic. “I don’t want it to be true, but I think it is.” Sanjay went on to detail his exhaustion, the competitive environment, the torturous hours, the weight loss, the pressure. Oh, the pressure.
Sonia Henry said: “Fear of exams, of angry surgeons, of night shifts, and of looking stupid is one thing. But fear to engage with a patient, to feel their pain and offer them your comfort — that is something else entirely. For all the medical procedures and lab tests and suture ties I cannot perform as a student, comfort is something that takes no study at all and can be given freely, with almost guaranteed good results.”
Not necessarily so different from the academic environment we subject undergraduates to, in a way, just at a higher caliber. I asked him what he thought he’d do to try and counteract the loss of empathy. “Honestly, it’s not exactly something I can be concerned about right now. I’ve got to get my stuff done. This what they want, this is why they accepted me.” A far cry from the voice calling me lost on an Appalachian back road trying to find the clinic to help patients get the care they needed. “I won’t always be like this, Sarah. I just need some time to breathe.” Maybe we all could use some breathing time.
Farewell Contemporary Pedagogy peeps! Twas a most excellent experience with my fellow GEDI’s by my side. Though I still have a long way to go, some of the important things I have taken away from this experience are:
- Start with a plan
- Be willing to desert the plan you started with
- Be open to digital learning-embrace the changes
- Have a philosophy, but make sure that it is fluid
- Never be too set in your ways to change the way you teach young people
- Reflect, reflect, reflect