We tell our residents that your job is changing in the future, and the whole healthcare system is changing. … Our purpose is to serve others, not to be served. We have to inculcate that in our residents. This is a cultural shift. —Roland D. Eavey, MD
Explore this issue:January 2019
Vanderbilt’s surgical residents engage in interactive exercises on how to manage challenging scenarios, and sometimes use paid actors or actresses to portray colleagues or patients, said Dr. Eavey. “We like our residents to have more hands-on involvement and be participatory in the learning process. Our didactics approach is very different. Someone might project a face onto a whiteboard, draw a skin cancer on a nose or cheek, and ask, ‘How do you remove this?’” he said. Vanderbilt residents also practice clinical scenarios with paid actors; the encounters are recorded for later discussions.
Dr. Eavey emphasized the value of interactive learning models, including post-operative debriefing exercises where residents share feedback with each other on how an operative case was performed (J Surg Educ. 2016;73:448-452). “There is a different, better way to teach so that knowledge is reinforced. With adult learning and team learning, you read the information, go over cases, ask questions, and discuss the information with the whole class,” he said.
Physicians have the skills and acumen to be leaders and lead healthcare organizations, and learning advanced business leadership skills will help them achieve this, he said.
“Residents can evolve into leadership positions that don’t exist yet, because nobody has even thought of these positions yet. But they need to be well prepared for those roles,” he said. “We are teaching trust, how to build teams, the domains necessary in leadership, and how to be an effective leader. There are different styles of leadership. Some people have not explored their personal strengths. We inventory [residents’] strengths.”
Some residents in Vanderbilt’s program have questioned why they need to take public speaking training, because they have given talks at international academic meetings, said Dr. Eavey. They may not be aware of how they could improve their speaking style until they practice and absorb critiques from their colleagues, he added. In their micro-MBA course, residents may talk with a
Vanderbilt hospital administrator about funds flow or contracts, for example. “We don’t expect someone to have one talk about funds flow and become an accountant. But they are exposed to this information. We want them to be empowered to take on a leadership role. Our program underscores how important resident education is, because residents should know how to build teams and build trust.”