As if everyone doesn’t have enough deadlines right now, 1 March is the deadline for submission of medical education manuscripts to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The call for papers was issued in December and accepted manuscripts will appear in the 5 September 2007 issue:
Practicing physicians aspire to be good, whether this attribute is defined with respect to intellectual skills, manual skills, or professional standards. In medicine, it may indeed be nobler to teach others to be good (in any of these senses). However, doing so is arguably far more difficult. Those physicians with expertise may be strikingly inarticulate when trying to convey their reasoning. The complexity of the cognitive tasks required in making a diagnosis or recommending treatment makes determining the most effective formats and settings in which to transmit this knowledge a daunting task. This situation is not made any easier by clinical pressures and general lack of remuneration that often not only fail to provide tangible rewards for teaching but may perversely discourage the best–and most noble–clinicians from participating.
To be honest, it is a sad state of affairs to note that most health care educators do a good job at their own peril. Being an excellent educator rarely assists one in promotion and tenure decisions; however, being a bad teacher can hurt you. Good medical educators usually go about their mission of teaching as a scholarly activity simply out of a sense of personal and professional pride.
Anyway, here are some samples of the types of articles published in the past by JAMA:
Previous topics have included the effect of changes in resident work hours on physician health and patient safety, education in evidence-based medicine, diversity in medical education, cross-cultural care, inaccuracy of physician self-assessment, Internet-based education, and funding medical education research. While these remain of interest for this issue, other potential topics include (but are not limited to) the appropriate use of medical literature, successful models for providing incentives to faculty for teaching, professionalism and ethics, and the use of interdisciplinary approaches to learning. Given the role of educator that all physicians play, we are also interested in studies of the effectiveness of training physicians to be teachers, if these studies are conducted with methodological rigor and include important objective outcome measures.
Although I am not a practicing physician, I had begun to draft a manuscript on the value of the medical blogosphere as a teaching tool and forum for discussion of medical issues among health care providers and patients. However, that dang 5 March NIH grant deadline interfered.
Fortunately, the medical education issue is an annual feature of JAMA. Perhaps we’ll have better luck next year.