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Mentoring Medical Students In Primary Care

“Dr. A, your student is here,” the front desk squawks through the intercom. “Sheesh,” I say to myself as I look at my full schedule of patients. Now, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy teaching. Something I do know is that I could not do teaching full time. I thought about possibly joining a residency program or exploring the possibility of teaching full time at the med school. But, at this point in my career, patient care is still my passion.

What docs never say (in public) but always think is that students definitely slow down the productivity and efficiency of office hours. I mean, teaching does take a long time – at least being a good teacher or student “mentor.” But, we all know that at one point in our medical career, we were that student who didn’t know that much and were afraid to ask a “dumb” question.

My patients and my office staff are great in that they take things in stride. When I tell the same story for the 20th time to a new student in the office, they understand. I mean, hey, primary care is as much about the patient’s story as it is about their medical conditions.

I don’t think I influenced the student in choosing primary care as a career (not sure if that is even possible these days). But, at least I hope that I conveyed to this student that despite all the roadblocks in the way of doing my job (state/federal regulations, insurance companies, fear of frivolous lawsuits), I still love what I do (really) and I would choose this career path again….

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*


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