Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching second year students with tag teams

In my view from the back of the neuroscience course, I saw some good stuff today.  We had a four-hour block of time to introduce muscle, neuro-muscular junction, peripheral nerve, and motor neuron physiology and pathophysiology.  For each of these lectures, I invited a pathologist and a neurologist to share the lecture time.  They had not done this before, so there were a few moments where it wasn't clear who was going to present what.  Overall, the pathologists presented the pathological changes in the structure, then the clinicians gave a presentation of what that looks like in patients affected by these diseases.  What I noticed that I thought was super cool, was that in the middle of each talk, the clinician or the pathologist would look over at the other person with a look like, "am I explaining this right?"  The other presenter, then usually stepped in, and gave a nice presentation of the area that was fuzzy for the first lecturer.

I like this model for several reasons.  First, it helps avoid some of the inevitable statements like, "I have no idea what you've been exposed to before about this, but..." or "Have you all seen this before or not?"  Second, it allows points which need clarification to be clarified right at that moment.  Third, I think it helps emphasize to the students that medicine truly is becoming too complex for one person to feel like they can master every thing.  Yes, you can still aspire to be a well-rounded physician, but any field of study moves to fast for you to practically stay up on everything.  Thus, you need to learn to rely on the knowledge and experience of your colleagues.  I think it also practically has the advantage of having clinicians and more basic science facutly mingle a little.

Wondering if others have more experience with a similar model in the basic science curriculum of your medical school?  Please share your thoughts and ideas here.

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