resolution countdown: #4, in the holiday spirit

December 25, 2009

merry christmas!
or, merry chinese-takeout-and-movie-day. sadly, i won’t be partaking in any of the day’s classic warm and fuzzy traditions — even the latter ones — but i actually really don’t mind working christmas. i’m happy to cover it so that people who do really celebrate can have their day. and actually, working this day has become a sort of tradition in itself, since this will be the third year in a row.

plus, santa strolling around the wards makes it way more fun than usual. i wish i had a picture from yesterday!

resolution #4: do unto others . . .
the clinics might be closed, but i can’t just stop my countdown because it’s a HOLIDAY! however, i feel that this goal fits the holiday spirit — at least somewhat.

i’ve been at duke since 2002 when i was a first-year medical student. i remember what it was like to traipse around the wards feeling absolutely clueless, and also being completely dependent on interns and senior residents to help me have a good and productive learning experience. they could choose to leave me out of things, which was boring and unhelpful; they could also choose to be MEAN, which flat-out sucked.

image from grey’s anatomy. cristina yang as your senior? oh helllllll no.
they could alternatively choose to keep me involved whenever possible and spend some of their time teaching me useful and interesting things. i remember that some of the best teaching was NOT esoteric — instead, it was the practical tips, the explanation of management, or even just advice on how to handle various types of pages from nursing or other ancillary staff. working through a simple ‘what if?’ scenario could be done thoroughly in less then half an hour, but would leave me feeling like i at least had some idea of what to do in a tough situation (seizure, neonatal resuscitation, etc).

i really do like teaching. i worked for kaplan for years, teaching MCAT and then doing teacher training (interestingly, one of the most popular google searches to find this site is “kaplan teacher audition”!). [for those of you who are now disappointed because your google search led you to this unhelpful post, the link to my audition experience is here, and i taught ‘how to make a key lime pie.’ you’re welcome.].

ANYWAY — my point is, i like to teach. but over the years, i think my relentless quest for efficiency at work has gotten in the way of being a good mentor and teacher to medical students. and i really don’t tend to spend much time teaching interns, in part because i worry that i might not have much to offer them since i’m only a couple of years ahead.

image from scrubs. they look like they’d like some guidance, don’t they?
but that’s crap, because thinking back to my own intern days, the seniors seemed like they had TONS to offer! and there’s no reason things are any different now. i also remember the little things i really appreciated from certain seniors, like when they did quick dictations on patients that were going home while i was post-call. so, here it is:

resolution #4: be a better teacher and mentor at work
✎ take time to give students/interns a good orientation in the beginning of the rotation. it will give them a chance to know what to expect, and ME a chance to define teaching goals for the weeks we’ll be together.

✎ give and take: spend time going through scenarios and talking about patient management with students. in turn, assign them specific things to look up and read about.

✎ golden rule: generally remember to treat students and interns the way i wanted to be treated back then!

so there it is: a resolution that is definitely in the christmas spirit. hopefully i can give the postcall team a good present today by getting them OUT THE DOOR early!



workout: 4 miles, 3 at tempo (8:19/mi, 0.5% incline on the treadmill). getting this in before work seriously made my day! so worth it.

culinary corner: KERF WEEK continues! last night’s recipe for cranberry-walnut stuffed acorn squash was perfect: i had to finish some dictations, so i popped the squash in the oven, started up the brown rice for the filling, and got to work.

with a beer, which made the task 100 times more enjoyable! too bad i can’t drink at work.

by the time my dictations were done, everything was ready and came together in seconds! i actually made a couple of substitutions, using pecans instead of walnuts (since that’s what i had) and a splash of maple syrup in lieu of brown sugar (because i was feeling cheeky). the goat cheese comes from hillsborough cheese company, which happens to be where kath is from and where she is AS I WRITE THIS! (good thing we’re friends or i would start to seem like a crazy stalker right about now).

josh and i both enjoyed this dinner a lot — great melding of fall flavors. it had a super-easy cleanup, too! recipe on the sidebar as usual . . . enjoy!!