The new school year has begun for students across the country, including those entering Stanford's medical school. In the latest edition of his Dean's Newsletter, Philip Pizzo, MD, welcomes the incoming class - the first to be taught in the new and very high-tech Li Ka Shing Center - and discusses how the students were given "something old and something new" during their recent orientation.
The "new," as discussed here previously, was an iPad. (The devices were handed out as part of a trial program to facilitate efficient, mobile and innovative learning.) And the "old?" A stethoscope. Noting that most medical schools conduct a "White Coat ceremony" to welcome their students, Pizzo writes:
At Stanford the tradition has been to provide a stethoscope to incoming students - not only because it is the one piece of equipment that symbolizes the "doctor" but, even more importantly, because it fosters a connection between the patient and physician, whereas the white coat tends to distinguish (and perhaps inadvertently separate) the patient and physician.
Pizzo goes on to say that the patient needs to be at the center of learning and caring ("While science and technology may shape the future of medical care, compassion, humanism and professionalism define the patient experience," he notes), and he shares other lessons he feels are important for future physicians.