Slowly but surely, doctor leadership is becoming an important part of healthcare. From entering medical schools to becoming residents, doctors are often lead by professional and volunteer educators. In fact, the entire profession is based on the principle of teaching and learning: a resident teaches an intern; a third-year medical student teaches a second-year medical student; a chief physician teaches a junior nurse; and so on. From lectures and seminars to articles, books, and training in clinical settings, it is your duty to continue this cycle.
Medicine is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding fields a student can enter into. When it comes to applying for medical school, volunteer experience is an absolute must. Entry is rather competitive and standing out can be a challenge. Hospitals are just one of the many places where future doctors can get a sense of how to interact with patients. Volunteer opportunities help medical students to decide if medicine is the right career path for them. Some students tend to go through a wide range of different volunteer experiences before discovering a good, long-term fit. These experiences help doctors interact with other healthcare professionals, colleagues, and, most importantly, patients. When it comes right down to it, volunteering has its benefits in any stage of your career. As a student, you get to understand the cultural and lifestyle factors that contribute to patients’ health, and you learn how to walk a mile in their shoes. As a resident, you start to understand the clinical side of health, such as paperwork, team building, and other skills that can help you advance in your career.
Being a healthcare professional, you may not be aware of the deep influence you have over medical students, young doctors, and the community. With everything you have on your plate, giving back to the community may be the last thing on your mind. However, philanthropic efforts can be far-reaching; not only do patients and the community benefit, but you do as well. Local charity events and fundraisers are a few examples of how you can inspire students and give back to the community. Philanthropy is important in attracting future doctors, or rather, millennials. Recent findings show that millennials care about issues such as healthcare, education, and the environment. This demographic is likely to be impressed by charitable causes, but they are more likely to notice if you are volunteering your time and actively advocating for a cause within your community.
Supervising medical students and junior colleagues requires you to understand the educational obligations you will take on. All doctors, including you, have a professional obligation to contribute to the education and training of other doctors, medical students, and other healthcare professionals. The general principles that outline good medical education and training include:
- You need to undergo proper training by using appropriate teaching and learning resources
- You need to constantly be up to date on any changes made to teaching and learning resources
- You have a responsibility to develop appropriate skills, attributes, knowledge, and behaviors that you can pass down to other doctors
- You have a responsibility to provide and maintain a level of professionalism in your particular field
- You have a responsibility to teach and train other medical students to the best of your abilities once you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills
- You need to take the time to offer assistance to other medical students and trainees
- You need to be aware of adequate resources that support assessment and appraisal
- You need to serve as an example to your patients
- You need to serve as an example to your community
With regards to the roles and responsibilities of future doctors, recommendations on how to inspire doctor leadership include:
- Offering opportunities to medical students to explore both the theoretical and practical side of a clinical setting
- Presenting opportunities to medical students to learn from suitable programs and up-to-date study modules
- Offering training programs in suitable clinical environments
- Maintaining the progression of medical graduates
- Seeking appropriate funding
- Encompassing academic activities that are designed to heighten both educational and research purposes
- Promoting criteria within universities
- Developing training programs among different specialties designed to focus on research and educational training
Inspiring students and the community doesn’t always necessitate volunteering. At medical school, most students are exposed to various teaching styles and assessments. Teaching styles include problem-based learning, teamwork, lecture-based teaching, and practical sessions. Types of assessments, on the other hand, include exams, workplace assessments, and clinical examination skills. Therefore, understanding how students learn is as important as what they learn.
Moreover, it is a well-known fact that feedback improves performance. Appropriate feedback can be gained from students, other teachers or colleagues, and through self-reflection. Medical schools have embraced the significance of feedback to ensure the quality of teaching maintains the highest standards. After all, it is the most consistent and effective method that is relied upon in teaching, or rather, in the medical environment.
Many doctors find that the simple face-to-face approach works best. Scheduling some time to speak with future doctors can give them a sense of who you are, what your goals are, and what helped you to reach them. Often times, learning from personal experiences is the greatest way to influence and strengthen bonds. Other strategies, such as selecting students who express interest in healthcare, increasing exposure to training, and improving satisfaction among doctors, may encourage more students to pursue a career in medicine.
It is often said that a doctor’s input can change the world. You are a mentor, a motivator, and a facilitator to medical students. As a mentor, you have a responsibility to teach and encourage students to give 100% every time and learn as much as they can about the profession they have chosen. It is also your job to share information about being a doctor and the responsibilities that come with it. Most importantly, you have the opportunity to shape a student’s character, giving them confidence to succeed in their field of study.
A good educator needs two things: the know-how to develop and implement a curriculum, and good interpersonal teaching skills. To a teacher, this may come naturally, and to a doctor, it is not such a far-fetched approach; after all, at one point in your career, you have been a supervisor to students or residents. Moreover, providing treatment and quality care to patients requires you to supply them with information that is in their best interest—about their health, bodies, illnesses, complications, prognosis, treatment options, and more. Just as patients look up to you, so do medical students and the community. In the best of times and in the worst, being a medical educator can shape future doctors, and sometimes, the impact is more than you could ever imagine.
The role of doctors as teachers is becoming increasingly popular as a professional concept. In fact, teaching occurs at all stages of your medical career, from classroom-based learning to training in a clinical setting. Patient teaching is just as important. Nowadays, it is not enough to know what to do; you must also know how to help each patient conquer or live with their medical condition. When it comes to healthcare, knowledge is more than just power. It is educational excellence that inspires students and strengthens the bonds between doctors. Medical students will continue to embrace these changes, just as doctors will continue to maximize their efforts to be perceived as top medical educators. The word doctor is derived from the Latin word docere, which means to teach. As a doctor, at some point in your life, you will be given the chance to teach future generations of doctors. Take it.