My teaching philosophy centers around engaging learners fully, making them stakeholders in their own learning, setting high expectations, and following through on those expectations. In my role as Medical Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Denver VA Medical Center, I’m doing a lot of reading on leadership techniques, and the above attributes also seem to be conducive to effective leadership. I am looking forward as these two separate but inextricably intertwined roles and philosophies grow in tandem.
The intensive care unit is a high stakes, high stress environment. Good patient care must combine individual and team effort, thoughtfulness with decisiveness, and critical reasoning with instinct. On rounds, I push my trainees and students to think outside the box, to consider a careful and thorough differential diagnosis, and ultimately to come down on a decisive plan of action. Rounds are generally spirited, and I try to foster teamwork between senior and junior team members, as well as between my housestaff and the nurses and therapists.
In the classroom, even when teaching basic science principles, I try to make everything clinically relevant. I engage the group with interactive questions to ensure that the subject matter is hitting home. In smaller sessions, we cover the requisite materials while interjecting clinical examples and trying to have fun in the process.