Dr. Gerald Diaz is passionate about medicine, and details the importance of engaging in all parts of your medical career, from education to practice.
Dr. Gerald Diaz joins us today with his vast experiences in clinical medicine and medical education. He has a passion for medical education, beginning his medical journey in an anesthesiology residency before settling in as an internal medicine physician. He is a co-founder of GrepMed, an online medical image repository: a crowdsourced education platform for referencing clinically relevant medical images.
Gerald believes that one skill that is very underappreciated in medical education is the ability to read a chest x-ray. Though one of the most common imaging formats a student or physician will find, it is still very easy to overlook uncommon findings. Felson’s Principles of Chest Roentgenology is a recommended resource for both students and physicians wishing to increase their skills.
Students should also be enthusiastic and enjoy the time they have in the clinical setting. This is a time for learning and professionalism, but also a time for fun and building social bonds! Dr. Diaz also recommends practicing your presentation skills as often as possible. Giving a strong presentation to your attending will help a student shine and increase preceptor confidence. Likewise, a poor presentation may make the preceptor second-guess your ability to continue your education. Lastly, make sure to ask for a “strong” letter of recommendation. Not specifying this feature may lead to a preceptor writing a mediocre letter.
Future preceptors and educators should really have a desire to be present and interact with their colleagues. The day to day activities can be very time-consuming and stressful. Without a passion to learn and teach, these responsibilities can quickly lead to decreased enjoyment. There is definitely a “lifestyle aspect to academic medicine.” Proper goals and expectations can greatly influence the future outcomes of this educational environment.
Commonly, Dr. Diaz hears that micromanaging preceptors are less effective and less appreciated by their students. Keeping up to date on the literature is also a necessity for all clinical instructors. Failing to do so when information is so readily available is unsafe and demonstrates a lack of professionalism or enthusiasm on the part of the preceptor.
Failure to set expectations upfront as an attending can lead to uncertainty in the clinical environment. Gerald notes that even a brief 1-page summation of expectations can go a long way in clearing up any confusion.