Thoughts on Incoming Intern Orientation

This particular week is the week that the new intern physicians arrived, and become oriented to clinical care. Ours start on June 24 with managing real patients. They are brimming with excitement, but also have a lot to do during the week.

It is interesting to hear from the "old guard" about how it used to be. "My
orientation was 'here is the ER, and here are the bathrooms: now go and see some patients.'" While I certainly would not think that such an orientation is acceptable nowadays, I have to reflect on what exactly we now make the new interns go through.  HIPAA training, ACLS, PALS, NRP, FIT testing, composites, meal cards, explanation of the numerous (not an exaggeration here) computer systems and log-in codes that are necessary are literally just a small part of orientation--and that doesn't even include Handoff training (my personal area of interest).  I mean no disrespect to our hospital administrative personnel by these comments, but am constantly reflecting on what we could do better for our incoming learners.

So what do they actually remember? While as educators we certainly do feel that it is important to have them learn why HIPAA training is critical, or that they have to foster professionalism within the context of social media, I do think that what currently exists truly is an overwhelming mass of "do this, don't do that, you must sign this, you must complete that." So how much do they really retain, when we KNOW that many learners lose interest after a very short time (adult learning theory tells us this)?

Does making interns sign a "I heard this info"-form really help? Does "don't forget to do this" really mean translation of knowledge? Will taking multiple modules online actually help when they won't be back to that particular hospital for 5 months? I'm not so sure.

If anyone has better ways of completing this training in an environment that
promotes retention of information, believe me, I am all ears. I suppose that a similar situation exists in starting other new jobs, and new hires are frustrated. What is so telling is that so many come back later saying "if only I had known that information during orientation, then I wouldn't have done X".

So how long are your orientations, and what do you do to make it educational and fun? Do you feel that the interns complete orientation ready for direct patient care within your system?  Personally, I am looking forward to the "10 things you ought to know about internship"-talk that one of the CURRENT residents is giving later in the week. I would be willing to bet that that is the most useful "orientation" information that the incoming interns will actually get for the entire week, despite months of planning and trying to fit so many “required” things into the week.

I am curious as to any ideas that others have. Believe me, everyone is learning here, and this is after knowing for 10 years exactly what previous trainees have told us about orientation.  I’m sure other educators out there have similar thoughts.  Please let me know your ideas.

Learning from Technology in Education

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a conference hosted by my children’s school corporation on the use of tablet computers/iPads in education.  As a medical educator, this absolutely piqued my interest.  In addition, as a parent, I have a big voice in how my children are educated, and want to know how I can help.  As it is now, my children are pretty tablet computer-savvy, and are always asking “Can I borrow your red iPad?” 
This conference was nothing short of incredible!  I learned so much, from how to get organized, to how to use video conferencing, to what apps are helpful for children in 3rd grade.  The keynote speaker was truly inspirational, with a wonderful message that “technology is always changing, but teachers will never be replaced.”  This was so great to hear, as an educator myself.  I also loved seeing teachers from all over Indiana come together to learn for themselves and ultimately for their students.
It is my opinion that the medical education world can learn from what the Center Grove Community School Corporation put on yesterday.  The focus was how to embrace technology in order to connect, create and collaborate.  I saw my kids’ teachers there as well, which was invigorating to see that other educators take an interest in their own personal professional development.
As a take home, I am now jazzed up to learn more about how to use tablet in education, for my own personal learning network (I love the phrase “personal learning network”, which is similar to medicine’s “individualized learning plan”).
To the organizers of the iPossibilities Conference at Center Grove, thank you so much, from one education arena to another.  I have taken away so many great ideas from your conference, both for helping my own children learn, and also for my day-to-day work as a medical educator.  I hope to be able to put on a similar conference within medical education, to demonstrate what is possible.  Our learners deserve nothing less!
[To learn more about the iPossibilities conference hosted by the Center Grove Community School Corporation, which was funded through a grant from the Department of Education, and to see handouts, please click here.]

Graduation and the Cycle of Residency Training

Our residency program and our residents completed graduation ceremonies this past week.  They were wonderful: many faculty attended, and celebrated with the finishing trainees about to embark on future careers and further fellowship training.  I always enjoy seeing how mature the residents are when they finish.
Some are appropriately nervous about what the “real world” of medicine will bring.  Some are giddy with excitement with the opportunity for more training.  Some are excited to be staying here, and some are excited to be moving elsewhere, whether it is a new place, or “back home.”
Regardless of what they eventually do, this is truly the culmination of four years of hard work.  They are ready to be independent practitioners.  They are ready to care for patients to the best of their abilities with no more required supervision.
Congratulations to the Indiana University School of Medicine Med-Peds Residency Class of 2012!  You will go on to do some great things, and will certainly be missed.  We are proud of your wonderful accomplishments, and your outstanding patient care.
Oh, and later this week, the cycle repeats itself, as a new crop of interns (the Class of 2016) begins orientation.  I can’t wait!

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