Rounds to Residency

The “PRACTICEs of Highly Successful” Students With Orthopedic Surgeon Jeff Smith MD

Dr. Smith focuses on physician and student burnout, updated models of adult education, and keeping medical knowledge valid.

Dr. Jeff Smith is a former residency director and current voluntary faculty member and assistant clinical professor at UCSD. He is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and surgery coach that uses the 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons to create a lifestyle-friendly practice. He also focuses on physician and student burnout and advocates for increased education around these topics.

Dr. Smith noticed during his education that the old methods of clinical medicine and education are not always as productive as traditionally thought. Instructing to do it one way because that is what the instructor did does not allow for personal development and growth. Updated models of adult education, being a proper role model, and those that do not give answers but assist learners in finding answers likely provide the greatest educational benefit.

Some preceptors may not maintain their education as well as others leading to older techniques being performed. Outdated information is not only a potential detriment to the medical student and resident under the preceptor’s guidance, but also may lead to patient care concerns. Staying updated on the medical literature and listening to your medical students – who may be more aware of recent educational trends – can be a great way to keep knowledge valid.

Learners may wish to be wary of anecdotal comments of preceptor abilities and online recommendations. These are often heavily biased and provide little relevant data to a medical student. Remember, learning can be overwhelming at times and part of the struggle is to learn your own methodology and clinical approach. Preceptors who are not providing you structured guidance – without giving answers – may be doing you a disservice.

Teachers thrive on the fact that you are gaining information and learning during your time with them. Make sure to be active and let the preceptor know what improvements you are noticing in your own studies. In the end, mindful awareness and effort throughout your rotations are key to a successful educational experience. Put in the effort and clarify all expectations with your preceptor. Pave your own way to success.

You can contact Jeff via email and visit for more information on his 8 PRACTICE Techniques.

Chase DiMarco

Chase DiMarco is an MS, MBA-HA and MD/Ph.D-candidate. He is the founder of MedEd University, a free medical education resource, the host of the Medical Mnemonist & Rounds to Residency podcasts creator of several medical education platforms, and CEO of FindARotation clinical rotations service.

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