Our Teaching Philosophy
Department of Medicine Teaching Philosophy
"Let not avarice blind my eyes from beholding the truth. Grant that I see in each patient only the person, without distinction between rich and poor, friend and foe, good and evil. In those afflicted show me only the human being. If physicians wiser than I wish to teach me, grant me the desire to learn from them, for the knowledge of healing is boundless…" - Maimonides
As physicians, we have the good fortune to leave for work every day knowing that we will be challenged and that we will make a difference in our patients' lives. As members of the faculty we can also find joy in knowing that we are helping to shape the next generation of physicians. And as we strive to perfect our relationship with our students, residents and fellows, we will be mindful of the awesome responsibility we have undertaken.
We recognize that students will often find the road ahead daunting: the volume of information for them to master may seem unconquerable, and the complexity of what we do impossible to fathom. Others may take their responsibilities too lightly. We must find the balance between alleviating the anxiety and upholding the standards our profession demands.
Indeed we have much to impart. But too much information without structure is just noise. We must strive to distill complicated topics into their essentials and teach students a theoretical framework with which to organize their information.
We must not assume that what we think we said is what they heard nor do we expect our students to passively accept our teaching as truth. Interactive teaching will insure that concepts have been grasped and incorporated, and that we continue to learn from our students.
Learning is a skill that needs to be taught and a habit that needs to be cultivated. It is imperative to not only impart knowledge or relay facts, but to instill a love of learning and to create lifetime learners capable of the critical, analytical thinking that will allow them to decide what is worth believing, and what is not.
We are committed to the demonstration of superb clinical skills and the practice of medicine solidly grounded in the best available scientific evidence. But we are equally committed to the notion that even superb clinical skill and a vast fund of knowledge are not enough to alleviate our patients' suffering or be truly great teachers. We must set an example for our students as we treat our patients with empathy and compassion. We must communicate well and listen even better. We must always be sensitive to cultural, ethnic, and gender issues as they impact our effectiveness as healers and teachers.
And finally we must strive to inspire our students, not just with our knowledge, or skill, or powers of deduction, but by demonstrating the passion for medicine that will spark their desire to be the best of the best.
We may not become famous for what we do, we may not earn the most money, we may not make the cover of a magazine, but it is our hope that our legacy will lie with those whom we have taught to learn.