Expert-Recommended Resolutions for Medical Education in 2019

Ryan Syrek, MA


December 27, 2018

Maligned though they may be at times, New Year's resolutions can be valuable tools to identify critical areas in need of improvement. Even if they are not fully implemented, this practice of reflection can lead to valuable, tangible gains. So we asked our Medscape Medical Student advisory board to suggest two different sets of resolutions for 2019. The first set are resolutions that our experts would like to see the broader medical education community adopt in the New Year. The second batch are resolutions students should tackle themselves to maximize their educational experience. Do you agree with their recommendations?

2019 Resolutions for Medical Training and Education

Resolve to address mental wellness of students and residents

After every string of suicides among people in medical training, such as the medical student and the psychiatry resident at NYU who died by suicide within days of each other in the spring of this year, everyone talks about what can be done to improve mental wellness in trainees. However, the efforts seem to still be falling short. Hopefully, administrators and students can work together to figure out a way to keep students and residents happy, and ultimately decrease suicide and burnout rates.

Sara Cohen, MD

Resolve to humanize medical training

JAMA published an article about the need to humanize medicine in 1975. This raised alarms about the progressively increased role of machines and technologies and loss of patient-centered medical care. Forty years later, that message continues to resonate. In my own field of radiology, patients are squeezed through, residents are given short shrift at the view box, and there is little time to consult or share interesting cases.

I would encourage medical educators in all areas of the medical field to help students and residents reflect on and strengthen their human values. Many medical schools now offer a course called the Healer's Art, which was developed in 1991. It is a great course for exploring the human side of medicine. Rachel Naomi Remen developed this humanistic curriculum for medical students early in their training, to help students "uncover and strengthen the altruistic values, sense of calling, and intention to serve that have led them to medicine."

Sarah Averill, MD

Resolve to improve relationships

Regulators and accreditors should include metrics that address the continuity of relationships: between learners and patients, learners and faculty members, and learners and clinical settings. This should take place in such processes as Liaison Committee on Medical Education and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education reviews. Schools and medical centers should also do better in including the perspectives of front-line workers—students and residents—as well as patients and their family members in improving the processes of care and the patient/family experience. The impact of U S Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores on the residency selection process should also be reduced.

Molly Cooke, MD


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