"Stickiness" and stories in medical education
Clinical scenarios are stories that "captivate learners and underscore the relevance of knowledge they've recently acquired or that's about to be conveyed," write the authors of recent commentary, "Lecture Halls without Lectures — A Proposal for Medical Education," in the May 3 New England Journal of Medicine.
Lessons are "sticky" (more comprehensible and memorable) when they capture our curiosity, engage our emotions and transform students from passive recipients to active learners. In short, the prototypical "bowlful of sugar" makes the medicine go down—and in this case, the sugar is the story.
The authors also call for moving the traditional lecture outside the lecture hall and using class time for more active learning. "For most of the 20th century, lectures provided an efficient way to transfer knowledge. But in an era with a perfect video-delivery platform ... why would anyone waste precious class time on a lecture?"
Some experts in continuing medical education, however, believe that "the practice of assessing and valuing educational methods based only on their capacity to directly influence practice reflects an impoverished understanding of how change in clinical practice actually occurs." The authors of "Didactic CME and practice change: don't throw that baby out quite yet" in Advanced in Health Science Education, argue for a balanced approach when implementing new educational strategies: "The goal [is] not to advocate for a return to the status quo ante where lecture-based education is the dominant modality, but rather to acknowledge both the limits and potential of this longstanding approach to delivering continuing education."
What do you think? Voice your opinion now on this and other issues in medical education.
Med school enrollments on target for 30% growth by 2016
New data show that enrollment at United States medical schools is on target to reach an increase of 30 percent by 2016, according to the annual Medical School Enrollment Survey of the Center for Workforce Studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Some key points:
- First-year medical school enrollment should reach 21,376 in 2016-17, a 29.6 percent increase above first-year enrollment in 2002-03.
- More than half (58 percent) of the increase will come from 125 schools accredited as of 2002. New schools accredited after 2002 will account for 25 percent of the growth; the rest (17 percent) will come from schools in the process of accreditation.
- Despite the growth, the AAMC estimates a shortage of 90,000 primary-care and specialty physicians by 2020.
An article in American Medical News noted that the increase in medical school enrollments will do little to expand physician workforce without an equivalent boost in graduate medical education residency slots. "This won't amount to a single new doctor in practice without an expansion of residency positions," AAMC President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. told American Medical News.
AMA CEO discusses future of the organization, medical education
In an in-depth interview posted to Medscape, AMA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer James L. Madara, MD, reflected on his first nine months at the AMA helm.
During the video interview, Dr. Madara highlighted various AMA efforts to improve today's health care system, thoughts about the association's key strengths and goals for moving medicine forward.
One key area in which the AMA plans to make an impact is medical education. Dr. Madara noted that while medical school curricula are continuously updated, the educational format has remained unchanged for half a century. He discusses a vision for blending clinical and scientific training, simulation to expand areas of training, and a greater focus on what he calls the "social aspects of practicing medicine" to prepare future physicians for leadership roles in team-based care.
Guide helps students choose the right specialty
A newly updated guide for AMA medical student members can help make choosing the best career path for you that much easier.
Choosing a Medical Specialty: The AMA's Resource Guide for Medical Students combines detailed snapshots of the most common specialties and subspecialties with data from the Graduate Medical Education Directory, FREIDA Online and specialty associations. Specialty summaries include skills required to succeed in a specialty, interaction with common types of patients, guidance about work-life balance and more. AMA members can log in to access the guide.
In addition, AMA members can attend the AMA Medical Student Section's ninth annual Medical Specialty Showcase on June 16 in Chicago, and meet physicians from a variety of specialties, including radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and emergency medicine. Physicians on hand will provide an introduction to their specialty and offer materials to help with career decisions.
News and notes
- The new 2012 AAMC Data Book contains updated statistics on a variety of topics concerning medical schools and teaching hospitals.
- The three-year plan: Some medical schools offer an accelerated approach to a medical degree by adjusting curricula and training (American Medical News).
- A new program in Cleveland area to integrate medical students into medically underserved urban communities.
- AAMC offers a series of case studies to share medical school and teaching hospital strategies for implementing key elements of health reform.
- A medical student blog post examines using medical education to improve health care for GLBT patients.
- Does medicine discourage gay doctors? (The New York Times).