Med student accountability

Throughout much of my third year of med school, I felt like I was a spectator.  I was there to learn, but mostly as an observer.  In many of my rotations, we would present and write notes, however it seemed like more of a formality and an exercise, rather than a duty.  That all changed midway through the year, when I was on my neurology rotation and I presented a consult to my preceptor.  He came up with an assessment and plan, and as he was reviewing the hospitalist’s H&P during his dictation, he picked up on an admission blood pressure that I had missed in my chart review/presentation.  He stopped and said, “Oh, this is important.  You should have told me this.  Now I have to change everything.”  Although I was embarrassed, I was also empowered.  That was the first time in my medical career that I felt like my opinion really mattered.

Watching the Lewis Blackman video brought back this memory.  Although I am not a resident yet, for much of the year I was that intern/junior resident who went through the motions of morning rounds, without truly accepting (or rather understanding) responsibility for their implications.  It was a reminder that as a med student, I am still capable of being a valuable member of the team, and should take that role seriously.  While my opinion or question may not matter most days, it may matter when it means the most.