Dr. Tammy Wang, CA-3, kindly agreed to share her reflections after completing the Medical Education and Simulation Elective in the Stanford Department of Anesthesiology.
My Medical Education and Simulation elective has been an excellent experience. It has reinvigorated me and given me some time to reflect on possible future career paths and choices. This month has reminded me of how much I truly enjoy not just teaching itself, but also thinking about how best to educate medical students and residents. I have thought not just about effective teaching, but also about how students learn, and how to study that. We need to have more educators who do not just impart knowledge, but also assess need and evaluate the efficacy of the curriculum design.
I have also enjoyed having some time to focus on performing a task well. ImPRINT has been a pleasure to coordinate this academic year. However, with my own academic studies and clinical duties taking priority, it has been a challenge to devote the amount of time to the course that it deserved. This month, I was able to put together a robust curriculum for May that I feel proud of. In addition, I have been able to complete a separate scholarly project for submission to MedEd Portal, based on the ImPRINT curriculum.
Our residency exposes us to a great deal of simulation as a learner. It has been interesting and enlightening to further experience simulation as a novice instructor. Through reading articles, observing expert instructors, and self-practice, I have improved my own abilities in debriefing. I have also increased my own medical knowledge and skills in Crisis Resource Management (CRM) by being allowed to attend multiple ACRM sessions. For me, the repetition is really helpful in reinforcing the information.
I have been told repeatedly that we are trained well as Stanford Anesthesia Residents. I have been a little skeptical about that, since I do not feel there is an easy way to gauge that. This is the only anesthesia residency I have ever been through! However, this month, I helped instruct the Internal Medicine resident code team training at the VA, and it does seem clear that our crisis resource management education is robust compared to other specialties. In addition, the instructors at the PALS course this month repeatedly expressed their pleasure at our facile use of CRM principles compared to their typical learners. It has been gratifying to realize that, as I near the end of my training, I do indeed have significant knowledge and skill that I might be able to impart to others in the future.
It has been interesting to learn a little bit about the curriculum available for an advanced degree in medical education as well. The reading for this course has given me a little exposure to the field, and I am definitely interested in learning more.
The primary challenge during the rotation has been time management. It is difficult to simultaneously (1) be an active participant in the plethora of simulation activities Stanford and the VA has to offer, (2) produce meaningful scholarly work, (3) complete the required readings and lectures, and (4) honor the clinical commitment for the elective. There are not enough hours in the month! Certainly any resident choosing this elective must have an on-going project that they can use this month to solidify or complete. It would be a challenge to expect to complete academic work that was started during the same month.
Overall, this has been an excellent elective, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be the inaugural resident. The mentorship during this rotation has been especially wonderful. I am grateful to Dr. Udani for the limitless time and energy he has put into this course. In addition, Drs. Harrison, Howard, and Gaba have been generous mentors and role models. I would highly recommend it to any resident with an interest in medical education and/or simulation.