The importance of examining patients

Medicine is both a science and an art, and while knowing the causes of chronic renal failure is important (or so I’m told ;-)), there is so much more to being a good doctor.

Most start their medical training full of noble ideals and altruism (at least, that’s what they claim in their entrance interviews) but it is all too easy for medical students and registrars to quickly get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of stuff to learn.  Experienced doctors too, can get stuck in work mode and lose sight of the big picture.

I believe one of the fundamental responsibilities of a medical educator is to help our learners see the wood, the trees and the forest of medicine, preferably simultaneously.   Also important to remind ourselves!

I have started recommending this utterly inspiring talk from Dr Abraham Verghese about the importance of examining patients to my registrars.  He encapsulates the essence of our role and influence much more eloquently than I can…

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