Learning From Pediatrics to Secure Medical Education for the Future

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To the Editor: Medical education requires motivated and proficient professionals to ensure the quality of health care. Many of my resident colleagues are asked to fulfill teaching obligations; while I am convinced that a majority of them are effective educators, literature suggests that at least some are either not sufficiently prepared for the task or feel overwhelmed by it.1,2
As a resident in pediatrics, I am fondly convinced that medical education can learn from the specialty that deals with accompanying the future generation through the “stormy weathers” of growing up. The playful approach of our young patients and their eagerness to learn are reflected in the literature, such as the recommendation to train schoolchildren in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillation.3 The question now is, should training of clinical staff with teaching duties and of medical educators begin as early as in medical school?
Early in my medical studies I had the chance to start my career as an educator, as I was employed as a student peer-teacher at my university’s skills center. There, I was not only infected by the joy that comes with mentoring peers but also became engaged in scientific projects in the field of medical education. I recognized quickly that medical education would be an integral part of my future work.
The idea of developing teaching skills in undergraduate medical students is not at all new; however, I could find only a few examples of such programs in the literature.4 This paucity is a worrisome shortcoming. Mandatory exposure of medical students to teaching skills and the provision of opportunities to foster these skills—such as training schoolchildren how to successfully resuscitate others—could certainly ease the challenging transition from student to physician, while further preparing and motivating junior medical staff for educational responsibilities.
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