Medicine has become ever more complex. We deal with ever-increasing patient workloads and convoluted medical systems (1). As a result, medical education can sometimes take a back seat in the face of these challenges. Does this sound like a familiar scenario to you? Perhaps it’s time to change the paradigm of medical education.
I am a second-year nephrology fellow with a great passion for teaching. I strongly believe that we as fellows can continue to facilitate change in the medical education paradigm. We are in house every day, working closely with residents and medical students. We can improve the environment, reform habits, and refine the overall education model; we are the foundation of the future. So, what is our responsibility in this era? I suggest four ways we as fellows can establish ourselves as innovative educators in this field.
Develop passion and a progressive mindset about medical education
We need to continually make learning interactive and engaging. The right mindset is the crucible to make changes and improve the medical education system. Even in a short interaction with a trainee about a consult, it is important to endeavor to leave the trainee with a stimulating pearl that can become a topic for future conversation.
Actively involve yourself in medical education and continually refine your teaching skills
Although being passionate about a mission is essential, passion alone is not enough. During my training I have actively worked to develop my teaching skills by delivering lectures to medical students and residents. I have tried to expand my skill sets by learning how to make animated videos, writing short blogs, micro-mentoring, and developing apps and websites. Learning a new skill can sound intimidating, but it can also become a very empowering tool for connecting with trainees.
Use social media as a teaching platform
The medical community on social media (#medtwitter) is growing exponentially. Being part of the #medtwitter family helped me connect with others who have similar interests and goals and led to collaborations with other institutions. As we all know, being active as a physician on social media comes with some rules. To better understand the medical media world, I did a one-year internship as part of the Nephrology Social Media Collective and later joined the executive team. Apply for internships, workshops, and volunteer activities to improve or add to your skill sets. These opportunities will keep you updated and help you have an open mind for new methods of teaching.
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”
This quotation is from the great poet Rumi.
Even though the role of educator comes with a lot of responsibilities, being an educator in your institution is a wonderful and fulfilling experience that provides the opportunity to guide and build relationships with trainees. You earn trainees’ trust and respect, which pushes you to stay updated, humble, and resourceful.
Maintaining a positive and approachable attitude goes a long way. It’s certainly not too hard for a nephrology fellow to have a lovable personality. We can all agree on that, can’t we?
Clark AV, et al.. Trends in inpatient admission comorbidity and electronic health data: Implications for resident workload intensity. J Hosp Med 2018; 13:570–572.
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