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Guest bloggers

Neel Sharma: Reforms in medical education—are we missing something?

22 May, 15 | by BMJ

Medical education has seen significant change over the past decade and more. Advances in teaching, learning, and assessment strategies are vast. The didactic lecture form of teaching is no longer the flavour of the month it seems with more and more emphasis on problem and team based learning. Classrooms are seeing the use of mobile devices to allow for rapid learner access to information and instructors are now tasked with the need not to simply disseminate information but to ensure understanding and provide appropriate feedback. Classes are being “flipped” and the MOOC movement has meant that attending face to face teaching is slowly becoming a non-existing entity. more…

Pallavi Bradshaw: Should employers have access to employees medical records?

19 May, 15 | by BMJ

pallavi_bradshawFlying has become an integral part of modern life, whether for pleasure or business. I have never been a nervous flyer although I would be lying if I said that I don’t get a little nervous, like most, when there is unexpected turbulence. For that split second, you worry about engine failure or a terrorist act, but never that the pilot is going to down the plane. The suicide and mass murder by Andreas Lubitz of the Germanwings plane shocked the world and ignited a debate about privacy and medical confidentiality. more…

Neel Sharma: Getting the right medical students comes with time

13 May, 15 | by BMJ

Last month, Richard Schwartzstein authored his perspective on poor communication skills among medical students and beyond (1). I read this with great interest and wanted to share my insights as a doctor in training. In the UK, it was also noted that allegations about doctors’ communication skills had risen by 69 per cent in the last year and complaints about lack of respect by 45 per cent (2). Whilst we may attempt to screen out those poor communicators early on as Richard highlights, I am not sure if this is truly beneficial. more…

Neel Sharma et al: Is wearable technology the next “big thing” in medical education?

6 May, 15 | by BMJ

Sometimes it can seem that technology is rapidly becoming more important than the instructor in medical education particularly with the rise of smart phones, tablets, and high fidelity simulation. Whilst educationalists like ourselves emphasise that the focus is not on the technology itself but rather on the appropriate use of technologies to enhance the teaching and learning experience, it is difficult for this message to be heard when they themselves take precedence in journal publications and conference papers. more…

Paul Auerbach: Continuing the relief effort in Nepal

6 May, 15 | by BMJ

The last few days have been action packed, and my work in Nepal is coming to a close. As an emergency physician, my skills will soon be much less needed than those of orthopedic and plastic surgeons, and primary care and infectious disease specialists. Because of the incredible outpouring of active interest from people who are friends of Nepal, many healthcare professionals have arrived, and more are on the way. The government of Nepal has recommended that all people, particularly those in large groups or teams, wishing to help by coming to Nepal do so under the auspices of government approved organizations. This is important to maintain an effective response and deploy resources where they are most needed. more…

Jocalyn Clark: More on predatory journals—a bad dream turning into a nightmare

5 May, 15 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1In a sort of karmic backlash, predatory publishers seem to be redoubling their efforts since my last blog on predatory journals to swamp my inbox with pesky emails promising quick publication for hard cash. In the last week alone I’ve (addressed as Dr J or just “Colleague”) been asked to be an honorary speaker (as you probably have, too) at 11 different bogus-sounding international conferences with a promise of related publication, and received countless invitations to submit manuscripts to suspicious looking journals. more…

Suzanne Gordon: Pimping has no place in medical education

15 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

suzanne_gordonUntil recently I thought I knew the meaning of the term “pimp” or “pimping.” But a couple of weeks ago a friend who is a student in a physician’s assistant program at a major medical school gave me new insight into the word when she told me how stressed she was because she was being “pimped out” by so many attending physicians during her training rotations. “Pimping out,” I asked her, what is that? Surprised that someone who’s written about medicine didn’t know the term, she explained that “pimping” occurs when attending physicians deliberately ask trainees questions that the senior physician knows the trainees cannot possibly answer. When, as expected, trainees couldn’t answer the unanswerable, they would be deliberately humiliated. “It’s horrible,” she said. “They roll their eyes, look at you like you’re an idiot, and, make you feel like a piece of dirt. When this goes on during a procedure, it makes it really hard to concentrate.” more…

Neel Sharma: Does the cost of using technology in medical education unfairly disadvantage developing countries?

14 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

Medical education reform has seen significant changes since the days of the Flexner report. What remains true are the rigorous entrance requirements, the scientific method of thinking, learning by doing, and the need to undertake original research (1). The advent of technology over the past decade and more has meant that learning by doing has taken on a whole new meaning. more…

Michelle Rydon-Grange: Sex and intimate relationships in secure inpatient forensic settings

9 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

Michelle Rydon-Grange_picIt seems that Britain is becoming more liberal in its approach to sex in UK prisons. Last week, the country witnessed its first same sex marriage in prison. And a report published last month by the Howard League for Penal Reform revealed the true scale of consensual sexual activity in UK prisons. While this might indicate a change in attitude to sex in British prisons, are attitudes towards sexuality in inpatients detained in Britain’s secure forensic hospitals changing?

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (Sexual boundary issues in psychiatric settings, 2007) is clear in its recommendations on managing the sexuality of patients in secure settings: each inpatient has the right to expect an individualised, person centred approach to managing their sexual and emotional relationships while in hospital. However, most forensic psychiatric hospitals in the UK either prohibit or actively discourage the sexual expression of inpatients (Bartlett et al, 2010), and sex is typically far down the priority list (if on the list at all) of debates held about forensic mental health services. more…

Caroline Fryar: Risky business

2 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

caroline_fryarA UK Supreme Court ruling has implications for the way doctors obtain consent from patients, particularly the way they tell patients about the risks of any treatment.

The details of the judgment in Montgomery -v- Lanarkshire Health Board have been previously reported in The BMJ but doctors may be left wondering what practical implications this has for them when requesting patients’ consent. more…

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