Medical Students and Orthopedic Training

Medical schools and Orthopedic Residency programs are constantly trying to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and teaching techniques for our future practitioners. Having completed my Orthopedic surgical residency and further my spine fellowship during the transitional years, I was able to see both sides of the traditional method teaching (Pre-2003) and more contemporary styles of teaching (Post-2003).

Slight history – in 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandated that medical trainees be limited to an 80-hour work week schedule. Prior to 2003, medical trainees would essentially spend all day and all night, hence “residents”, to gain the necessary training that was required for their medical education, close clinical and patient contact, and overall experience. I remember when the work restrictions began and most attending physicians and seniors educators were worried about the possibility of the medical students and residents “not being prepared” for their clinical roles when the time came. I would have to admit, I was also worried about my training and whether I was going to be prepared when the time came to fly solo.

As I continue to take on more medical students for their elective rotations, I realize just how much has changed with technology, social media, simulation, and the formal aspects of medical training.

Many have argued that the best way to reach this new generation of medical trainees is through classical classroom learning techniques and powerpoint, but I often see the opposite. Let’s take for example the classic classroom learning with books, charts, tables, etc. The average medical trainee and resident no longer has to carry the pocket references of days past, hanging out of your pocket, and papers and pockets busting at the seams. The new millennium of students now, pull out their smart phones, press a few buttons, and have the entire book, case studies, and applications at their finger tips. Yesterday in fact, I was working with a student that wasn’t familiar with the lab tables for their progress notes but he was able to pull and recall all of the pertinent laboratory data for the past six years.

This isn’t even bringing up the debate of electronic medical records. Since the evolution of electronic medical records, the point and click method of documentation has easily overtaken the traditional method of writing your notes. This brought up a great discussion with the trainees’ faculty whether they are thinking through the process as to what they are clicking rather than all of the information being at their finger tips. Is this taking away the critical thinking required for the correct medical diagnosis? Overall, this improves patient care and clinical documentation but are we relying on this technology too much to make these life-changing, life-altering decisions?

Back to the major question, which method is the best way to educate our next generation of physicians? The short answer may very well be – All of the above!

Please see the articles listed below for more on the future of teaching medical students and residents.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Importance of Exercising When You Have Arthritis

Millions of Americans have arthritis, a condition that causes joint pain and stiffness. If your joints hurt, you might dread the thought of exercise. However, regular exercise can significantly reduce joint pain. Read on to learn more.

All About Motion Preservation Spine Surgery

Motion preservation spine surgery allows you to keep your spine's natural flexibility. This state-of-the-art technique is minimally invasive with reduced recovery time so that you can return to life with less pain and an improved range of motion.

What To Do If You Break a Bone at Work

Despite your best efforts to stay safe at work, accidents and injuries can happen. If you suffer a broken bone while on the job, you can better deal with the situation if you’ve considered the possibilities in advance.

Pros and Cons of Artificial Disc Replacement

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive surgery called motion preservation. Motion preservation replaces a diseased disc with an artificial one that allows you to move your spine normally.

Can Sciatica Stem From a Serious Disease?

Sciatica causes pain in your lower back, down your hip and buttock, and along your leg. Most of the time, you feel sciatica pain on one side or the other, but not both. The pain can be severe, but is it caused by a serious disease?

What to Expect During and After Your Discectomy

A discectomy is a surgical procedure that can provide long-lasting relief for people suffering from severe disc problems. Here’s when a discectomy is performed and what to expect during and after your surgery.