No matter where you practice, rheumatology clinics are extremely busy. And in that hustle and bustle we find an uncomfortable jostling of priorities between delivering optimal care for as many patients as possible and upholding education for teachers and learners at all levels. Because salary usually comes from seeing more and more patients, teaching is often left behind, which is a horrible shame for learners, teachers and, ultimately, patients.
But to me, if the question is time, the answer is space. Teaching in the patient’s room is a longstanding tradition in American medical education that’s slowly regaining favor years after being discarded as too old-fashioned. In addition to saving time by reducing redundancy, it offers plenty of other benefits, many of which have been upheld by studies.1-4 If done correctly, it can minimize the conflict between service and teaching, may lead to unexpected and fruitful outcomes, and can provide several benefits, including the following:
1. It Improves Patient Satisfaction
Patients, for the most part, love to be in the know. In my experience, they like to learn alongside medical professionals. Many deeply appreciate the time and effort it takes to educate one another in the medical field. Incorporating them into the teaching environment dignifies and justifies their visit to an academically inclined clinic. At the very least, it provides something for them to engage in, instead of waiting patiently for the attending physician to come in and briefly say a few words.