Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Food For Thought
Wedging a little update, for public interest, between my previous and tomorrow's (final?) post, I thought I'd mention a meeting I had recently. Some readers will recall I said I'm considering resuming, part-time, my surgical hospitalist gig. In discussing details, some interesting issues came up which go to themes about which I and other bloggers have written severally: namely, the changes going on in training programs and the products thereof.
I talked with two surgeons; one was of my era, the other much younger but having finished training just before the invasion of the eighty-hour work week. They have big concerns. Having just hired a couple of the recently minted, they are finding the need to establish a mentoring program, because the newbies seem neither to have the skills nor knowledge to manage completely on their own, despite looking great on paper. This, of course, is exactly what I've written about. In fact, I've suggested such a mentoring program will need and ought to be a formalized requirement of all new trainees, given their limited experience compared to those much decried days of yore (and myre.)
The ramifications are many. For me personally, and others like me, it might suggest a future premium: who better to mentor the fresh faces than the old and grizzled and recently retired? And for me personally, and for you, let's hope we never need surgery. At least until the full effects of the recent changes are realized and dealt with. Which would be, oh, another couple of decades. So good luck with that.
The warnings are out there, in this blog and comments thereon, and in many others, as well as in a trickle of papers on the subject. I've been saying there's trouble ahead; it may or may not be as bad as my worst fears. I'm certain there are highly-qualified people being cranked out. The questions are, how many, qualified for what, and willing to do how much? And how to separate the sheep from the goats.
Meanwhile, were I to finalize the job arrangements (not yet certain), there might be food for further thoughts down the road.