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The Education Side of Medicine

Teachers can serve in a variety of settings. When you think of teachers, do you recall your teachers in elementary, middle, or high school? Perhaps you think about your college professors. These are individuals who have taught you academic lessons, cultivating your academic interests for success in school. However, in addition to academic teachers, however, you might also view other figures, such as parents, friends, or other relatives, as types of teachers as well. Such individuals may assist you with life lessons, motivating you to reach the fullest of your personal potential. Yet, another field in which understanding how to teach has proven to be essential is medicine.

In any medical health profession, understanding how to teach others is critical for the maintenance of patients’ overall health and wellbeing. In a letter published by Stull and Duvivier 2017, a physician’s role as an educator was emphasized in various respects. It was stated that it is necessary for physicians to obtain a more enhanced understanding of the social determinants of health, being able to formulate a wise connection between the world around us and the development of human illness. In doing so, doctors can begin to interpret sickness more holistically, teaching patients with more well-established perspectives. In such a way, physicians may develop an ability to teach patients about their diagnoses and potential treatment options in a more efficient and compassionate manner. Both Stull and Duvivier explained how a curriculum to educate physicians regarding what it means to learn may better inform them on how patients interpret their doctors’ advice. (1)

In addition to the inherent role of physicians as teachers, doctors are also significant leaders in academia. Noted as “teaching physicians”, such individuals are primarily focused on education centered on basic topics in science or clinical medicine in either medical school or residency programs. Additionally, the daily schedules of such physicians rotate among medical consultations with patients, private clinic appointments, conferences, and rounds of teaching and management. Such teaching physicians usually have three primary responsibilities. These include providing high-quality care to their patients, assisting with education involving the training of medical students or those enrolled in a residency program, and assisting in scholarship contributions as well. (2)

Overall, physicians and other health professionals are educators of others. Whether that be in academia or a different setting, they have a significant impact on patients’ and other staff’s general understanding of medicine and what it ultimately means to take care of and be of service to others.

Thank you so much for reading!

- Aprile Bertomo


Stull, Matthew J. MD; Duvivier, Robbert J. MD, PhD Teaching Physicians to Teach: The Underappreciated Path to Improving Patient Outcomes, Academic Medicine: April 2017 - Volume 92 - Issue 4 - p 432-433 doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001613

Steinmann, Alwin F., et al. "The modern teaching physician—responsibilities and challenges: an APDIM white paper." The American journal of medicine 122.7 (2009): 692-697.


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