By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius
I’m on the internal medicine residency training committee as third year residents’ coordinator. I try to meet them as a batch (of usually 20-22 residents) a few times each year just to see how they are getting on and if they’re having any problems. Some are reticent and some are quite vocal at these meetings. Some meetings are not as productive as the residents just tell me there are absolutely no problems, which i sometimes doubt.
I decided to do something different this year. I am meeting the residents in groups of 5 or 6, two Fridays in a month. With this schedule, I can meet all the third year residents in two months, that’s 6 times within a one year period.
Here’s the format I am using. I play a short video and then go round the table asking each resident in turn to speak up about what they thought about the video. I ask follow-up questions. I give my own comments. I also summarize the discussion at the end. I would call this facilitated reflection?
After the meeting, I ask them to make three tweets (sentences of 140 characters each) as a form of reflection. Not all the residents have Twitter accounts and I haven’t made up my mind yet if I should require them all to get one. Being on Twitter, I know how difficult it can get to condense one’s ideas in 140 characters but doing so often gives more clarity to my thoughts. I learned that at #HCLDR tweet chat! I also know how busy these residents are that writing a 500-word essay may be too much. I’d also have to read them. 🙂
It was @ClinicalArts on Twitter who introduced me to the Kolb Cycle of Experiential Learning. I’d like to think that this is what I’m doing with the residents. Granted, the video I ask them to see is not really a clinical experience in itself but it does trigger a recollection of their own experiences. The brief one hour I have with them is an opportunity for reflective observation or at least of talking aloud one’s thoughts. Hopefully, the short Tweet-like sentences I ask them to write covers abstract conceptualization. Active experimentation will be up to them!
I’ve done two meetings so far and I am indebted to Lisa Fields (@Practical Wisdom) for introducing me on Twitter to Dr. Brian Goldman (@NightShiftMD) and Dr. Leana Wen (@DrLeanaWen) whose talks on Ted I have chosen.
Meeting 1 (Jan 10) – Brian Goldman: Doctors Make Mistakes. Can We Talk About That?
Meeting 2 (Jan 24) – The low-tech healthcare revolution: Leana Wen at TEDxCortland
The residents’ reflection tweets are starting to come in. I’d have to ask if they would agree that I document their responses in another blog post. I’d like to think this activity is helping them, but it has definitely helped me reflect as well on my own values.