“The years teach us much the days never knew.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
During RP101 (Contextual Thinking), we identified personal context as the interwoven fabric of one’s unique life experiences. This fabric can be thought of as a quilt to which we add pieces throughout our lives – some big, others small. The pieces we add include our experiences growing up; our perceptions of family, societal and cultural norms; and our experiences during our adult lives, including those during medical school. Just as each one of us has our own unique personal context, so too do we each have our own unique reactions to situations we encounter. These reactions are neither right nor wrong; they simply are. However, awareness of one’s reactions and how they impact the ways we think and act, is critical.
In RP201 (Thinking on Action), we are afforded the time to pause and reflect on our experiences during the clerkship year. Such reflection includes examining how our experiences have impacted our personal context, and thereby our perspective. While our personal context evolves throughout our lives, for many physicians, the time between the beginning of clerkship and the end of residency is one in which changes in our personal context are the most dynamic, and the most easy to identify.
This RP201 session is dedicated to reflecting on your experiences during clerkship year that significantly impacted your personal context and your perspective. Examining these experiences and their impact is designed to help you:
- Examine your reactions and actions in your role as a clerkship student
- Identify specific ways in which your personal context and perspective has changed over the past year
- Recognize that just as your personal context and perspective are dynamic, so are those of your patients
- Recognize that given the fact that our patients’ perspectives are dynamic, applying monolithic labels to them puts us at risk of making errors when trying to diagnose, treat, and offer prognoses to our patients.
Assignment – REVIEW and DISCUSS
- Read one (or more) of your reflective essays from the RP101 pre-clerkship curriculum. As a reminder, sessions in RP101 included Illness&Disability, Dying&Death, Racism, Obesity, Sexuality, and Mistakes. (if you cannot locate your papers, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we’ll provide the ungraded version to you)
- Reflect on a clinical experience during clerkship year in which your actual reactions and/or implications of those reactions differed from those you had anticipated during the pre-clerkship period.
- Think about what ways this change in perspective did and did not surprise you. Have you experienced similar changes in perspective in the past?
- Examine the impact that your new perspective had on the way you interacted with and cared for your patients during your clerkship year. After this interaction, did you find that you were any more or less charitable and empathetic towards others? In what ways has your change in perspective impacted your view of the value (or lack thereof) of introspection and self-awareness as a physician?
- Be prepared to share what you learned and/or how you changed in your small group discussions on Feb 28, 2018 @1300-1415hrs. (there is no paper due, but you may want to jot down some notes and bring them to the discussion)
Speaker: Rick Guidotti is an award winning fashion photographer who left the the mainstream fashion industry in 1998 and founded Positive Exposure, which seeks to “transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences.”
By the end of the small group session on “Perspective”, students will demonstrate the ability to:
- Review the reflective essays (RSIP papers) they wrote during the RP101 pre-clinical curriculum and reflect on patient encounters during their clerkship years.
- Identify situations in which their reactions and/or the implications of their reactions for patient care were dissimilar from anticipated.
- Examine personal experiences between the time they wrote their RP101 paper and the end of core clerkships that impacted their personal context and contributed to the change in perspective they identified above.
- Reflect on the implications of being aware that one’s perspective can change, including how this awareness might impact their approach to interactions with patients, their families, and other members of the medical healthcare team in the future.