Diving deep into the student-preceptor dynamic during clinical rotations and being open to change
Jason Mizell a colorectal surgeon and clerkship director from the University of Arkansas, and has been running a Business of Medicine course for several years. Like many students, Jason started off with a desire for one specialty (pediatrics) and ended up discovering that another option was much more enjoyable for him. He emphasizes that this is very normal, so students should keep an open mind and accept all challenges and opportunities that arise.
A preceptor’s understanding of their student’s future goals and expectations can greatly influence the student-preceptor dynamic during clinical rotations. For instance, Jason realizes that only a small percentage of students will be going into a surgical specialty and as such he focuses his teaching content on more general needs. He also points out that there are significant differences in pre-clinical and clinical medicine which students need to be transitioned into (i.e.: colleague consults).
When discussing medical topics with medical and healthcare students, preceptors that think-aloud give the student insights into the thought process of clinical medical professionals. They can help students during their medical externships by pointing out the nuances that may otherwise be missed. Proper assessment of student competence and oversight are also extremely important not only for the educational environment but also for patient care.
A medical preceptor that sets their expectations for the students early is vital for an efficient learning system. In fact, UAMS created its own internal app that allows for constant access to learning objectives and expectations for each medical service which is easily accessible and updated. Also, letting the student take the driver seat during their clinical rotations is a great way to guide them while allowing open-ended reciprocity of ideas.
Medical and clinical students preparing for surgical rotations should prepare by researching the particular surgery and being aware of the patient history beforehand. Thinking about the situation as if the preceptor is not there, making decisions, and preparing for potential complications is a great way to stimulate one’s thought process pre-op. Lack of effort or interest is easily noticeable by the preceptor and will likely lead to a poor experience for all parties involved. Your activity and interest, as well as personal interactions with patients and preceptors, will greatly influence your Letter of Recommendation as well.
You can gain more insights into Jason Mizell’s Business of Medicine topics on The White Coat Investor Blog and Podcast as well as Doctor Money Matters and Doctor’s Unbound. For research on financial education in medicine, please read Jason’s article, Money matters: a resident curriculum for financial management.
Note: All summaries are host interpretations and are not intended to reflect direct statements made by guests or mentioned associations.