Sunday, July 22, 2007

Give them a hand

I like teaching medical students and residents. Some parts I'm good at; in particular I like to think I'm good at teaching people how to approach problems in a logical way, how to cope with incomplete diagnostic information, and how to deal with the (at times overwhelming) vagueness of family medicine. Some parts I struggle with. Teaching technical skills is one of those areas.

Sewing up a complex laceration, putting in a line, repairing a tear after a delivery, disimpacting a shoulder dystocia, all of these are important skills for future family docs to have. I'm reasonably good at technical procedures, not the best, but certainly adequate. I know how to do procedures, but the problem is that it isn't my brain that holds that knowledge, it's my hands. How do you do a hand tie? My brain hasn't the foggiest notion, but my hands perform the task reasonably well. "Wow that was a tough shoulder dystocia Dr. J., can you explain how you did that turn-around-thing?". Hmmm, well I can tell you in theory what I did, but the actual chain of events happened in my hands, not my head....sorry Dr. Resident....

I try to show students, step by step, guiding their hands as best I can (when the situation is non-emergent), but I'm sure I still fall short. As a resident I had some brilliant teachers who could describe the performance of technical procedures in exquisitely simple language, knowledge flowed from their mouth into my hands....alas, I impart no such skill to the students I encounter.

If only my hands could do the talking...

1 comment:

The MSILF said...

Oooooo oooooooooo I want a good FP residency where you do all that stuff!

Sounds like you guys are having a cool adventure. Waitin' for more!