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Learning to teach

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 12 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4554
  1. Philippa Jackson, core training year 2, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
  1. pcjackson{at}

    Allow me to set the scene. It’s your fifth week on the job as a junior doctor, and things are just starting to fall into place. Your head is above water; no one has died recently; all the blood forms are out for the day, so it won’t be another late phlebotomy round; and for once you’re not on take. Then, “Hi, I’m your new medical student.” The sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach returns. A medical student? Surely not. Surely the powers that be would recognise that you’re too green for this, too fresh, that you’re figuring things out for yourself and you can’t do it for someone else as well? But you check, and they’re right: they’re meant to be here. Their remit? To learn how to be a house officer. “That makes two of us,” you think.

    This scenario plays itself out all …

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