Role Model

One of the unwritten expectations of clinical teachers is to act as a rolemodel to students and residents. You are role modelling both clinical reasoning and patient interaction. Unfortunately, some clinical teachers forget the patient interaction and focus too strongly on the clinical reasoning. Here is an example from

I hadn’t met this Dr. Neuro before, and he came in with three residents. The students stood quietly in the corner while Dr. Neuro reviewed my medical history with me. All went well until he inquired if I could get up on the examining table and I replied that it was very inconvenient and suggested I stay in my scooter chair. He may well have had excellent reasons for preferring to use the table, but it was clear from his sharp response and demeanor that his sudden shift to insisting I get up on the table was related to the presence of the observing residents.
So we did it his way, with my parents and the residents assisting, and two residents helping me as I struggled to remain sitting atop the table without any useful support. Needless to say, testing the reflexes of a woman tensed to keep her head upright and her body from falling to the floor was impossible. I didn’t stay up there long. It was readily apparent that the only thing to be learned was that I do indeed have severe muscle weakness, as both my patient records and I had declared.

It’s easy to speculate about what this doctor intended to teach his students. What he missed was an opportunity to show how an examination of this kind could be done with the patient in her scooter where she felt more secure.