Educating 21st Century Doctors

The panel on Monday provided great insights and perspectives on educating 21st century doctors and included speakers from Oakland University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Each speaker highlighted a different angle on the topic question and provided great ideas and examples of what the doctor of tomorrow will learn and how this will translate into their patient care.

Dr. Robert Noiva discussed the importance of patient centered care and highlighted how a picture can speak volumes when he showed a picture of a group of doctors discussing their patient care, but with no patient in sight. To focus on patient centered care, Dr. Noiva described how he envisioned a 21st century physician delivering this care – compassionately. In order to provide this compassionate care, the school has promoted a movement towards enrolling medical students who are “more than their score” and focusing on admitting students using a holistic review that looks at both academic achievements and interpersonal competencies. In order to deliver this compassionate care, 21st century physicians need to focus on their personal wellness and OUWB has integrated wellness into the curriculum with wellness events and activities for students to help them cope with their demanding schedules and prevent burnout.

Dr. Laurie Richlin started off her presentation getting attendees to think about what the 21st century physician looked like to them. Giving a short break to chat with our tables, I leaned toward my own personal bias and pictured a techie doctor utilizing all the latest technology to provide in-depth, personalized health care, but chatting with the librarians at my table helped me to see that a collaborator is what a 21st century doctor will be – someone who can communicate with a healthcare team and their patients. Dr. Richlin’s love for medical libraries was obvious from the start of her presentation when she noted that hiring a medical librarian was a crucial first step when opening a practice and continued throughout her presentation. Dr. Richlin highlighted the key roles of a 21st century physician: Healer, Scientist, Advocate, Educator, Colleague, and Role Model. Echoing Dr. Noiva, Dr. Richlin also stressed how compassion is needed as a doctor. Along with compassion, lifelong learning was another skill needed by doctors which can easily be attained by forming a connection with their medical librarian. Dr. Richlin also discussed the Research Readiness Self Assessment (RRSA) which was an excellent example of how the medical library can become more involved with medical education.

Dr. Michelle Daniel concluded the panel with her presentation on the new curriculum at the University of Michigan’s Medical School. Some of the changes to the curriculum include decreasing the number of years in which science is taught, increasing the number of clinical years, including leadership training, and a course on doctoring (covering all 4 years) to enhance students’ communication, collaboration skills, and compassion. The curriculum also wanted to focus on students’ interests and encouraged them to pursue different paths in their education. These “Paths of Excellence” help to prepare students to become agents of change in health care and reinforce the vision of a 21st century physician.

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