Why positive role models are essential in medical education

In the 70s when I trained, we had no add-on curricula; we had no milestones; we had little interference from governing bodies.  What we did have were role models.

In the current century, when I talk with students and residents (and I do that very often) they talk about what they see or do not see from their attending physicians and fellow residents.  The carefully constructed curricula result from excellent intentions, but role models defeat those curricula every time.

If we want our learners to show respect for diverse patients; if we want our learners to understand the struggle that many patients have with drug costs; if we want our learners to make decisions based on patient preferences, then we must have clinician educators who embody those attributes.

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