Blog | Friday, November 6, 2015

Physiology on the fly


For 6 days I participated in a wonderful course, “Physiology on the Fly,” near Bar Harbor, Maine. This course is the brainchild of the Chair of Medicine at Beth Israel/Deaconess, Mark Zeidel, MD, FACP. He has a wonderful “old school” view of internal medicine. We who teach should use basic science, especially physiology, and we who care for patients should understand physiology.

So the course included discussions of the how physiology informs clinical medicine and laboratory exercise to reinforce the points. The 18 junior academic hospitalists had a growing enthusiasm for the topic while I participated as a speaker. Apparently they chose me to be the keynote speaker because I use physiology in my clinical teaching regularly.

The most important observation that I have from this course is that it clearly put understanding as a first priority. We who teach must strive to understand and then communicate that understanding to our learners.

Will this old school approach catch fire? Can we energize clinician educators in an error of arcane documentation requirements, cumbersome electronic records and increasing focus on performance measurement?

In Maine I experienced the old spirit of internal medicine. Internal medicine for me represents the challenge of understanding, and then using that understanding to help our patients. Internal medicine is a wonderful calling and too many worry that excessive regulations are interfering with the profession. This course speaks loudly to the possibilities. Now we must fight the good fight and return internal medicine to its essence.

db is the nickname for Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP. db stands both for Dr. Bob and da boss. He is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and is the Regional Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. He still makes inpatient rounds over 100 days each year. This post originally appeared at his blog, db's Medical Rants.