Earlier this month, I helped out with teaching a class at Roosevelt High school, through the Student National Medical Association / Latino Medical Student Association, with help from the student interest groups for Emergency Medicine and Surgery. I got to watch 6 of my peers, both first and second year medical students, teach this group of teens how to tie surgical knots and how to do basic sutures.
As you might expect, the response of the class ranged from genuine excitement at using real suturing supplies to general disinterest at having to learn how to do the “tie your shoes knot” in a more difficult way. Regardless of the response, all of my peers were engaged in teaching, and were consummately professional. The medical students enjoyed the experience, and it was great to see my classmates in a new light.
I enjoyed seeing my classmates teach those teenagers, because it reminded me that this is something we are all going to be doing for a very long time. Trying to give back to our community and teaching our patients are both lifelong values and skills that we all hopefully have. That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, or have to change who we are, but we have to be willing to try to hold onto those values. Figuring out how to be a physician shouldn’t replace who we are as people, but hopefully simply magnify what was already there.
And, everything else aside, the other 6 medical students did a great job of teaching me how to suture. See one, do one, teach one?