Tip Tuesday: Reflect back, to move forward
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
As you approach the final weeks of the year, or the final days of any medical school or residency rotation, think back to day one
. It may seem kind of like a long time ago, but in others ways the time just flies by (and then it's already time for a shelf exam or other test or a new rotation).
But do take a moment to reflect back on your experiences, on the things you saw, did, learned, didn't learn, want to emulate, want to avoid, are drawn to, are repelled by... and reflect upon all the ways in which you have grown and changed. What feedback have you received, and did you really hear and make good use of it?
- Did you accomplish the objectives that were spelled out for you?
- Did you accomplish the objectives you set out for yourself on day one?
If not (yet), there may still be time to create such a learning experience.
For example, with a few days left on a pediatric rotation:
- Ask someone to take you through an otoscopic exam in a toddler. Provide "back to sleep" guidance and save a life. Participate in a lactation consult. Find those undescended testes or that axillary freckling or that sacral dimple. Identify the slipped capital femoral epiphysis or the scoliosis. Do a (warranted) procedure with guidance. Call for a consult with a well formulated question. Handle a question about vaccination. Go to that bronchoscopy or renal biopsy, and know why it is being performed and how to interpret the results. Get to know your patients even better. Hold a hand. Listen and learn. Teach someone something. Try again.
In some sense, there's always next time (or next year), but there's really no time like the present to be fully present for your patients, to enhance your learning and the care you give.
Reflect back, to move forward. For now and for next time...
About the Expert
Terry Kind, MD, MPH, is Director of Pediatric Medical Student Education at Children's National Health System. For the last decade she has also served as a primary care pediatrician at the Children's National Health Center at Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, in Washington, DC.