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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20397

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Slotnick HB.
How doctors learn: education and learning across the medical-school-to-practice trajectory.
Acad Med 2001; 76:(10):1013-26;jsessionid=Q29D4fLTJ6VL5Zn4PRh16yyQJRrGy5nDN8g3pycncrDQXmdL9ybF!755119086!181195629!8091!-1?issn=1040-2446&volume=76&issue=10&spage=1013


People have needs they address daily over the course of their lives. They address these needs through identifying and resolving problems in ways that reflect their identities. This means that education, including medical education, is an identity development process because it provides people with more and better ways to satisfy their needs. Also, education does this by providing them with the knowledge and skills they use to occupy identifiable niches in society. These niches are describable in terms of what people do and the ways in which they relate to others. Medical education, in other words, allows medical students and residents to take on physicians’ identities, and their identities go a long way toward defining when, where, and how they will address their psychosocial needs. Doctors begin developing the skills and knowledge they need in medical school and continue developing them through residency and into practice. However, there are important differences among medical students, residents, and practicing physicians, and these differences have an impact on how the individuals satisfy their psychosocial needs. These differences also bear on how well they will satisfy their needs later in their careers; i.e., the things physicians-in-training do to satisfy their psychosocial needs in the course of learning to become doctors are expected to prepare them to address their psychosocial needs later in life in their roles as both healers and professionals. It is against this background of describing how education helps physicians solve problems and so address their recurring psychosocial needs that the author presents 12 conclusions concerning physicians’ learning.

Cultural Characteristics Education, Medical* Humans Learning Life Change Events Professional Practice Science Social Identification* Space Flight Students, Medical/psychology* United States


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909