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ACP offers a number of resources to help members make sense of the MOC requirements and earn points.
Understanding MOC Requirements
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April 11-13, 2019
Internal Medicine Meeting 2019
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One of the most overwhelming aspects of becoming a medical
student is adjusting to near-constant evaluation of your knowledge
and skills. For many first-year students entering fresh from their
undergraduate degrees, it is possible to have labored for 4 years
in relative obscurity, scoring well on tests and putting together
an impressive application. In medical school, however, even the
most shy student will find that there are no hiding places. Patient
interviews and physical examinations are practiced, often for the
first time, under the watchful eyes of newly met classmates and
instructors. Your first patient presentation will be given directly
to a busy and scrutinizing attending. You will suture a real
patient for the first time, with every stitch and knot evaluated by
not only a physician but also a patient who may reluctantly note
that your identification badge says "Medical Student."
However, the anxiety and fear of having an audience as you learn
the ropes of medicine often pales in comparison to what comes
afterward: feedback. Although feedback is a rather benign term in
itself, it is no secret that, to many of the personalities
attracted to medicine, feedback may seem like nothing more than
criticism. The primary job of a medical student is to learn, and
feedback is one of the main ways that a medical student does this.
Although our efforts and viewpoints as students are beneficial to
our teams and patients now, it is truly our future patients that we
are serving by soaking up everything that we can during our 4 years
of training. Anything that affects this learning process not only
influences our own personal growth but also shapes our ability to
optimally care for someone 10 years from that moment. Therefore,
the ability to give and receive feedback during a medical career is
of the utmost importance.
Feedback is a combination of not only the message but also the
delivery. When delivered optimally, feedback offers a clear and
constructive message that can be taken to heart and used as a
springboard to improvement. When delivered poorly, it can cloud a
truly constructive piece of advice and even invoke a defensive
reaction that reinforces poor habits. Feedback has the ability to
engage team members from the chief of the department to the medical
student rotating through that service. That integration is why
hospitals filled with doctors in training often have the best
outcomes and allows the brightest and most patient-focused minds to
develop into future leaders within clinical medicine.
As medical students, feedback is most often directed at us, as
it should be. Feedback is perhaps our most powerful learning tool.
It shapes our knowledge into a clinical toolkit that can heal and
save lives, it passes on the intangibles of medicine, and it
improves our skills in ways that no book or paper ever could. In
every piece of feedback that we are given, no matter how it is
given, there is useful information that can enhance our medical
skills, and it is our responsibility to seize that opportunity.
As we progress through our careers in medicine, becoming
residents and attending physicians, we will fill our minds with
knowledge and skills that can be passed on to others. We will have
the responsibility to teach and shape the education of those around
us, and we will do this in the same way that others taught us:
through direct feedback. Still, no matter what stage of training we
reach, medicine is a field of lifelong learning. We will never
cease to benefit from the comments and suggestions that our peers
and superiors can offer us, regardless of what level we rise to in
Giving and receiving feedback is as much an ingrained art form
within medicine as the physical examination or the patient
interview and must be taught and regarded as such. It should be
supported and reinforced in all stages of our career as an
opportunity to improve, whether as medical students or as senior
attending physicians receiving feedback from a colleague or even a
patient. Embrace the feedback that you receive as a medical
student; it is there to help you develop into a superb physician.
Finally, make a commitment to mastering the art of giving feedback
as you progress through medical school and beyond, because feedback
is perhaps the true backbone of medical education.
Kevin T. Nead
Stanford University, MS III
University of Cambridge, MPhil in Epidemiology 2012
Gates Cambridge Scholar 2012
March 2012 Issue of IMpact