This week we welcomed a new set of interns to the Texas Children’s Hospital residency program. During orientation we offered a digital professionalism orientation that was a lively, facilitated discussion based on some key points made in this YouTube presentation, Digital Smarts. Newly minted second-year resident Joey Spinner did an amazing job corralling our noobs and getting them to open up about the potential pitfalls where medicine meets the digital world.
Hot points: the artificial limitations of a ‘don’t friend patients’ policy; how exactly to handle (or not handle) a question from an established patient in a public place; the difficulty of separating personal and professional social lives.
A couple of take home points:
We really need to talk about this. Interns appear to have had little discussion regarding digital professionalism in medical school. So residency programs have to do double time with respect to catch up training.
Peer-to-peer teaching is critical. Millennials are more trusting of one another. Call me paranoid, but I think they connected with Joey more than me.
Engaged dialog is likely the best medium. Having spoken to residents before in lecture format, group discussion with directed questions and provocative case scenarios seem to be more effective than passive listening for this subject.
Residents use smart phones. Of the 40 something interns (not a typo – we’re the largest pediatric residency in the U.S.), all but 2 used smart phones. I was honestly more interested in those who reported not having a smart phone than those who did.
A 30 minute orientation is not enough to prepare doctors for the digital world. Which is why we had our new ‘terns think about things before they arrived. Training digital professionalism needs to begin in medical school and emerge over the course of residency.
And that’s why we’re leaving none of this to a brief orientation. The residents and myself (group sourced and more them than me) are finalizing a longitudinal curriculum in digital professionalism that will cover all of these issues over the course of their training.
Again, thanks to Dr. Teri Turner for the opportunity to get this dialog going.