Friday, January 29, 2010

Medical Education, Baby, and Me

My son was born at the UCSF Children's Hospital in early January, three weeks before his expected due date, and just one day shy of being considered full-term. Being in a high-risk pregnancy category, I knew that I wanted to have the most experienced members of the medical team at the delivery.

Santiago already contemplating life at the tender age of two weeks

I anticipated that I would probably know several of the interns and students that would be rounding while I was a patient, since I teach many literature searching workshops for the UCSF School of Medicine. My conundrum was whether or not I would feel comfortable having medical students and interns I knew professionally taking care of me in a very private and personal realm. It was tough to decide to want to keep my professional and personal life separate.

When I was admitted, I made a request to the senior attending to have only the attending or R3 (third-year resident) be the one to deliver my baby. In the end, I am very fortunate that the entire labor and delivery teams that oversaw my 32 hours of labor provided incredible expertise and support.

The delivery team consisted of the senior attending, R3, R1 (intern), medical student, labor nurse, and anesthesiologist. I was impressed by the incredible level of patience, knowledge, skill, professionalism, and caring that each member contributed to the team. This mixture of strengths ultimately reinforced my realization that when it came time to actually deliver the baby, it was more important to me to have a strong team with me, regardless of whether or not I knew any of them professionally.

In a way, I learned my lesson to practice what I preach. I have helped several faculty, clinicians and students over the years with finding resources to support the educational model of interdisciplinary education and communication skills within team dynamics. It took having to actually go through a personal experience to truly appreciate the power of this aspect of medical education. I have huge respect for the triumphs of medical education. And so very grateful to have a healthy and happy baby.


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