Explore this issue:February 2014
MIAMI BEACH—The Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting took the stage in Miami Beach on Jan. 10 for three days of talks, discussion panels, and research presentations geared toward helping attendees improve patient care, tackle new lines of inquiry, and get otolaryngologists thinking about issues big and small.
Tyler Weaver, a fourth-year medical student at Oregon Health and Science University who was scheduled to give an oral presentation, said this was his first exposure to such a conference and that it was a great chance to see how it all works. “When a bunch of minds put their resources together, you can see the advances of the field—it’s a really great opportunity,” he said.
Jeffrey Kerner, MD, an otolaryngologist at New Haven, Conn.-based Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, said it might be easy to fall out of touch with the field if you don’t make the effort, but coming to the meeting is a great way to keep up with what is happening. “This is one of the more erudite groups of otolaryngologists,” he said.
Jonas Johnson, MD, spoke about the responsibilities physicians face as teachers in his presidential address to the Triological Society. Specifically, he called on attendees to:
Recognize the Stakes Involved in How Well You Teach
“The responsibility that each one of you has every day is amazing,” Dr. Johnson said. “So now we’re going to teach someone how to do surgery. How can you do that? How can you let a junior person help you cut another human being?” The only way otolaryngologists can accomplish this, he said, is to be convinced that the trainee is doing it as well as the teacher could. “Anything else is completely unethical,” he added.
Leave Behind Quality Doctors
Education, mentoring, and sponsorship are of central importance to the specialty, said Dr. Johnson. “If I don’t train some young people, there won’t be anybody when I’m gone,” he said. “We all understand that.”
Remember That Teaching in Medicine Can Be Especially Difficult
Dr. Johnson pointed to medical training as an environment in which trainees want to be independent. “Our trainees don’t want to call me at 2:00 in the morning and wake me up. Our residents want to be offered more responsibility. They want to do it themselves.”
Additional difficulty in training medical staff can come from the nature of performing surgery on a patient. “I would never a let a resident do something in the operating room unsupervised until I have seen him do it, and do it well,” he said. “You have to watch them and trust them before you dare leave the room. This is my ethical responsibility to that patient.”