Medical education: giving feedback to doctors in trainingBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4523 (Published 19 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4523
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Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time - Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate in literature
When we learn something, the internal structure of our brain changes. New connection(s) are formed, neurotransmitters at the synaptic junctions find new pathways to carry new information, the wiring of the cellular jelly of the brain reorients itself (1,2) and we become wise, calm, suave and more learned after that unique experience. And if exposed to a similar clinical scenario again, we make better and logical decisions. In this respect the Practice essentials by Kelly and Richards provides us with a new insight into our daily learned experiences (3). However in this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we need to be curious and receptive to new pieces of knowledge; as democratisation of knowledge through the Internet has made its spread easier, faster, convenient and verifiable. Now we can access authentic information on any drug, device, procedure, intervention, surgery or illness on our handy mobile devices, the process opening up certain new challenges and opportunities, and continuing to do so.
When sharing our clinical experiences with our residents, many times we find that, although beginners (like anybody else among us) have a better stronghold to correctly discover, assess, test, calculate, assimilate over individual pieces of information, when it comes to drawing a bigger picture, a holistic interpretation - the conclusion - we need to guide them. And although we make every possible attempt to be with them when we are in hospital, we find it unrealistic to share all the relevant points with each of them every time. And as on clinical rotation it’s common to find a new face in our unit at any given point, we need to have a lot of energy and patience to make same point time and again. Hence we have devised a new strategy harnessing advances in information technology.
We made a private social media group with our residents on WhatsApp. And when we find a common pattern of omission, mistake, ignorance, lack of correct interpretation, lack of information we go to our group, share the information and invite the feedback of all of the stakeholders - the group members. Simultaneously we can go through at our own convenience some relevant information/ article in journals, books or e contents, and attach that with the post. This process also ensures that it’s easier for the learners - our residents - to go through relevant weblink at their own convenience and time. When we want to stress some specific topic and want our residents to be more informative, it’s easy to share all the relevant references on web, rather than to find them in our old library or in books and then distribute a printout one by one.
As our ‘e’ library provides institutional access to a wide variety of journals and books, accessing that on a phone, and then saving it, is easier, faster and convenient. And this way of exchanging 2 way communication (and feedback) is a more enjoyable/ informative/ comfortable exercise than the conventional one. So we believe that in this digital age, although social media is known for certain faults of its own, we find it open and have derived a new way of spreading education riding on the electronic platform. We believe that in the near future as good voice recorders become universally available, phones develop their own artificial intelligence and sense users’ choices and prejudices, our search and find exercise will become more goal-directed, classified, user-friendly, easily available at the point-of-care and individually oriented to one’s preferences.
(1) Green CS & Bavelier D. Exercising your brain: A review of human brain plasticity and training induced learning. Psychol Aging. 2008 Dec; 23(4): 692–701. doi: 10.1037/a0014345
(2) Askenasy J & Lehman J. Consciousness ,brain ,neuroplasticity. Front Psychol. 2013 Jul 10;4:412. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00142.
(3) Kelly E & Richards J. Medical education: giving feedback to doctors in training. BMJ 2019;366 :l4523 doi : https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4523
We accessed all the webpages at the time of submission of this Letter.
Competing interests: No competing interests