Attending the Telluride Experience is important to me because, as a medical student, I sit in lecture halls for the majority of the first two years of school, learning all there is to know about the body and all of the diseases that can plague it all in preparation for the Step 1 exam. I learn the presenting symptoms, the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease, and the treatment. While this seems great in theory, we are never taught how to ensure patient safety during these first two years. We are given very straightforward knowledge of the disease and the theoretical treatment but are very rarely given real-life examples of patients. Instead, we learn these things through hands-on training in third year rotations, where we are adjusting to a new environment, applying clinical knowledge for the first time, and simultaneously preparing for Step 2. Patient safety is something that should be emphasized more within the first two years of medical school and something that should be integrated into the curriculum from an earlier stage as it is the most important thing that a physician should be paying attention to when working with a patient.
Patient safety is integral to good patient care because of the adverse outcomes medical errors can lead to and the numerous lives lost due to medical errors. After reading “Wall of Silence: The Untold Story of Medical Mistakes that Kill and Injure Millions of Americans,” I am even more convinced that patient safety should be taught from the beginning of one’s medical career rather than in the middle of it. By establishing a culture of patient safety from the beginning, medical professionals may be more cognizant of their actions and avoid the different types of errors that can lead to medical mistakes. This is something I hope to implement at my school after the Telluride Experience and work to create that culture of patient safety.