Philosophy of Education
The Department of Psychiatry emphasizes teaching residents in a wide variety of settings, both formal and informal, but in all there are core principles to which we adhere and attempt to foster in our students and residents. These principles include:
- providing a safe environment for learning,
- incorporating a multifaceted biopsychosocial-spiritual understanding and
- instilling a dedication to lifelong learning.
There are a number of educational influences that have developed our philosophy including having an understanding of motivational interviewing and core psychotherapeutic principles as well as appreciating the educational literature that focuses on more interactive approaches to instruction including: team based and experiential learning. As an educator, it is particularly important to understand your student’s perspective and tailor your teaching strategy to the individual or group. Having a fluid and dynamic approach to teaching by incorporating a variety of instructional modalities has helped us successfully adapt to different environments and learning styles.
One of the most rewarding experiences for me as a physician has been watching my psychiatry residents and students develop their clinical skills and watching their intellectual curiosity develop. As a clinician educator, I have had the opportunity to observe residents and medical students in so many different arenas. From day to day patient interaction, to academic and scholarly pursuits and formal didactic settings, I experience their growth firsthand and watch their development from the day they enter residency. I truly believe that residents and medical students learn the most when they are engaged. This may sound like an easy concept, however, developing the skills to make learning interactive, challenging and engaging requires a teacher who has self-awareness, is open to feedback and willing to adapt teaching styles to the challenges of the students.
It has been truly a pleasure to see how with encouragement, support, concrete goals and objectives young clinicians can grow into a more clinically astute version of themselves. In addition to watching residents develop their skills, I have also personally enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with the medical literature and ensuring that I am as prepared as I can be when I am teaching residents and medical students various topics. With more years of practice, patience and dedication to furthering my own education, I have learned to become a better teacher.
In addition to teaching formal didactics, our faculty spends time teaching residents while on rotation site and with them, whether on walking rounds or in a formal didactic setting, we really encourage them to be active participants rather than passive learners. Our team promotes a safe environment where one may feel comfortable asking questions and thinking about out of the box solutions to clinical and ethical dilemmas. One of the concepts I strongly enforce while rounding with residents on the ward is the appreciation of the multi-faceted, complex nature of all medical cases. Not only do I and our faculty encourage them to understand the pathophysiology of disease but we also press for them to acknowledge the complex psychosocial dynamics that create disparities and challenges in health care. As every individual is unique, every clinical picture is unique since no one person will present with the same stressors or disease process. I find that this may help prevent our younger generation of doctors from seeing health care as a mound of electronic medical records. More and more we are faced with a growing number of documents that need to be completed because of regulatory requirements; which, while extremely important, has been shown to lead to high physician burnout and decreased physician satisfaction particularly in primary care.
Our dedication to Resident and Medical Student education is something that has had a positive impact on our Department and our Hospital. While we are a community hospital, our commitment to resident education is at the core of our commitment to providing quality care to a very underserved and disparate community in the South Bronx. During my time as Program Director, I have been witness to residents and students participating in countless conferences at the regional, national and international level. Physician as healer, scientist, advocate, educator and life-long learner are just some of the principles that we strive for here at BronxCare, Department of Psychiatry.
Sasidhar Gunturu, MD