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By Aaron Bright on October 14, 2019

Good Medical Education: Part 2

(If you happened upon this post without reading Part 1, do that first.)

In my last post I nearly fell off my chair, barely avoiding typing in all caps. Let’s do some more of that.

What is good medical education?

  1. Good medical education is respectful of the clinician in all ways. It is respectful of their time by not wasting it, of their daily practice by providing utility to it, of their patients by helping them indirectly, of their humanity through an authentic human tone, of their soulful burden by providing community. Bad medical education is minimal-effort profiteering on the back of a 100+ year-old broken system with as little heart and soul as possible. It’s a time sucker, pretentious, and disconnected.
  2. Good medical education is up to date, changes with your feedback, and is created by great medical educators who are experts in the field. Bad medical education milks out of date material. It employs laypeople to create the education then pays a dispassionate doctor with a big title at a famous institution to attach their name to it, spraying rose scented car-freshener over piles of garbage.
  3. Good medical education is human. It admits when something is challenging. It looks for the learning pitfalls, acknowledges them as tricky little buggers, then targets them for vanquishing once and for all. Bad medical education presents complex topics as if everyone (but you) already understands; brushing past difficult material quickly for fear of being exposed as amateur.
  4. Good medical education gives us recommendations for the real world. Bad medical education speaks down to you and asks you to “consider” doing this or that without being bold enough to suggest a path.
  5. Good medical education is funny, deep, supportive, or scary… like medicine in general. It wears its emotions on its sleeves. It feels like having a drink with a friend. Bad medical education is made by committee and feels like it was created by a robot out of cardboard. It leaves you more stressed than it found you.
  6. Good medical education often has CME credit attached to it but that’s not why you’ll want it. Like time with your favorite professor during training, the education is the true reward, not some CME certificate. Bad medical education focuses on CME credit and takes you to a beach destination or waves a $1000 Apple gift card in front of you so you can write it off your taxes and learn nothing. Nothing wrong with the beach or a cheap iPad, but it’s not medical education.
  7. Good medical education has its eye on technology, design, and modern ways of delivering content. Why should online learning feel like 1992? Bad medical education sends you DVDs and thinks you’re too stupid to use the internet and too naive to demand a good experience.
  8. Good medical education holds itself to a higher standard and looks to lessons learned in other educational fields. Bad medical education is riding a 50 year wave of mediocrity and consumer apathy. It knows you’re busy, you might not have time to research all the options, and enough of us will buy the garbage to make a tidy profit.
  9. Good medical education is happy to show you what you are about to buy and offers a robust and simple look at it beforehand. Bad medical education hides the product or makes you email someone for a “demo”. Beware the pretty homepage that refuses to show you the real product.

This list could go on. But, it’s not news to you. You already know all this. We just have to change our expectations. Once it’s clear that we all demand better, the system will change. It is changing already. There are a lot of great educators out there waiting for a stage. CME can be something to look forward to instead of a hoop jump. We can all help ourselves out of the shame spiral of keeping up to date. We deserve better education. Let’s demand it.


Published by Aaron Bright October 14, 2019