Dr. Errin Weisman reveals the versatility and personal touch involved in rural primary care medicine and how technology has led to stronger physician communities.
Rural family medicine and primary care hold many unique abilities for physicians and students. In fact, Dr. Errin Weisman is able to complete not only the normal primary care activities through her clinic, but some procedures that might otherwise be relegated to microbiology, histopathology, dermatology, surgery, or OBGYN practice. This has given her a unique perspective on modern medicine in different geographic and demographic environments.
Current and future preceptors in these community centers have much to be cautious of. Imposter syndrome and burnout can impede one, especially when there is less professional support to fall back on. Self-care and being mindful of one’s current moods and thoughts are undeniably beneficial to physicians in these instances. When more help is needed, virtual meetups and life coaching can step in to add the desired support structure (which Errin provides for physicians and students).
When teaching, giving students the opportunity to learn with guided mentorship can be mutually beneficial. It saves the preceptor’s time by decreasing hand-holding, but it also allows the student to work through a problem on their own. They can develop creative thinking skills as they relate to the clinic. However, the “blame and shame” model of education is antiquated and often provides little benefit. It is usually best to avoid this type of negative preceptor-student interaction.
Errin recommends that students who would like to engage in rural medicine networks and opportunities should consider reaching out on social media. Those active on social media or in education circles are more likely to accept students and interact with them. Students must be truly interested in learning but also keep an open mind as there is no such thing as perfection. In the end, the student and preceptor are a team working within the healthcare system, so an unengaged student is not going to excel in a rotation in her clinic.
When interacting with patients, sometimes jumping in headfirst is very helpful. This decreases the workload on preceptors needing to explain everything and gives the student a greater feeling of autonomy. However, a poor patient presentation can make a student’s work worthless. Do work to improve your presentation skills and ask for advice when needed.