I started off the New Year with one of my favorite events…no, not the Mummers parade…but a unique program on our center city campus. This past Monday I got to meet with over 260 third year medical students for a special annual ritual we call “Interclerkship Day.” 2016 marks the 13th time that my colleagues and I have conducted this program, which always marks the opening of the final semester before the students go off to their clinical rotations.
Sidney Kimmel Medical College(SKMC), the sister college to JCPH, devotes one day per year, in the Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) curriculum, to an interactive, all day program focused on the role of the third year student in improving the quality and safety of medical care. Even this one day experience catapults SKMC into the vanguard of all medical schools, as the vast majority of schools do little to equip students with even the basic tenets of quality and safety science. With the help of both national and TJU faculty, the students are exposed to some of the core content of quality and safety—communication, leadership, a just culture, and the like. Students participate in interactive role playing sessions as attending physicians delivering bad news, as harried surgeons in the operating room with a mismatched hemostat count, and finally, as patients on the receiving end of arrogant caregivers.
I always look forward to this special day and enjoy seeing the transformation of these idealistic trainees into a more nuanced clinician. Over the years, the students have come to more readily accept the notion that medical error is indeed a national epidemic and they are more comfortable with their role in “going against the authority gradient” to protect a patient, even if it might put their own position into some peril. In our jaded world, it is an injection of hope for me. What does your medical college do with regard to teaching the core tenets of quality and safety?