Friday, September 7, 2007

And we're back

Family medicine is a lot busier than I expected it to be.

First of all, I have to commute a little more than an hour each way (that's more than two hours of driving per day, for those of you who are math-challenged). Then, there's the homework.

Yes, that's right. All of a sudden you're like a frickin' 5th grader, with homework.

They try to dress it up; they're "presentations" and "research summaries", but honestly, that just makes it more insulting. In my opinion, it's time to stop this ridiculous crap. There's already a big exam at the end of the rotation (written and verbal). Plus--and I hope I'm not understating this here--I feel that if the motivation to NOT KILL PEOPLE isn't enough to make someone learn of their own volition, then I don't see how homework is going to do it.

Let me learn on my own. I am NOT a 5th grader. I don't need your damn homework. I can learn all by myself, just like I brush my teeth without being told and wear matching socks without you picking them out (well, most of the time).

My other gripe (Yes!! There's more!!) is that a big part of being a doctor (okay, a GOOD doctor) is to be what they like to call a "self-directed learner". This means--stick with me here, because this is a startling and complex idea--that if you don't know something, you look it up. Radical concept, huh? Well, they tell you that it's time that you become a "self-directed learner", and in some rotations (coughSURGERYcough) if you don't do that you are a dead doornail, while in others, I'm talking to you, FAMILY, they make you do stupid. Frickin. Homework.

The cherry on top: I won't be able to say for sure until after the exam, but my hunch is that these homework assignments are not going to be super helpful on the exam. I mean, I think that they are overall theoretically important things, but the kind of things that I could have learned on my own in about one third or less of the time it took me to put it together into homework.

There is another part to this that I have to confess. One of my biggest pet peeves--other than having homework at the age of 32 and the song "American Pie"--is a little something I like to call "forced audience participation". I bet you know exactly what I'm taking about. It can happen anywhere, from a "Hey, let's put those hands together!! I can't hear you!" to "Where is everyone from?" to what I am experiencing now: "What kinds of psychosocial issues do you think we should consider in this patient?". Ironically, I don't really mind the more Socratic surgery method, where they direct a question to one particular audience member (usually warmly and personally, as in "that guy back there in the blue shirt who isn't paying attention"). But when they ask this very subjective, open-ended question, and just sit there, silently, waiting for someone to speak up, which finally someone does, but inevitably doesn't give exactly the answer the person wants, so they say something inane like "Um, yes, okay, but what else?", I just want to punch their face in.

Wow, okay, I've really woven all over the blog road here. Let me wrap up and we'll come back to some of these hard-hitting issues--plus the things I LIKE about Family Medicine--after a brief commercial break. Seriously, I will try to post again this weekend. In the meantime, keep on keepin' on, people, and let me hear you put those hands together!!

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