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Mentoring and Learning in Medicine

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posted on 2019-02-25, 19:51 authored by Om Prakash Yadava, Paul T. Sergeant

Om P Yadava and Paul Sergeant discuss the relevance of tacit versus codified learning in medicine and the basic tenets of mentoring.

Professor Paul Sergeant from Leuven, Belgium, deliberates on learning techniques and differentiates between tacit learning and codified learning. He laments that proctoring has become more of a social visit with a view to tourism rather than a mentoring visit with a view to teaching. Prof Sergeant asserts that knowledge is never transferred; it is the information that is transferred and that in turn can be converted into knowledge in the minds of the learner. The information passed on to an individual will interact with that individual’s perspective, experience, and the baggage that they already carry, and thereafter it will be converted into different knowledge in each person. Information can be codified or tacit. Codified information can be codified in text, in visual form, in olfactory form, or any other perceivable form which can be transmitted. By contrast, tacit information is silent information, which is captured by the direct interaction with the mentor, and cannot be passed in a codified form. In surgical mentoring, almost 90-95% of the learning is codified and barely 5-10% is tacit, behavioral, and attitudinal learning.

Dr Yadava and Prof Sergeant then discuss proctoring. Current proctoring is inadequate, and even the proctee must do his or her homework adequately. Additionally, legal issues have to be kept in mind and are discussed. Proctoring may bring certain risks to the hospital and the patient, and this too should form a part of the legal frame work. Thus there are issues concerning the proctor versus proctee, and the proctor and proctee versus the patient, which should form the legal framework. Finally, in discussing who should pay for the proctoring process, Prof Sergeant says that there should be a shared responsibility between the proctee and the medical device industry to cover the cost of proctoring.

Suggested Reading

1. Sergeant P. We should ban the OPCAB approach in CABG, just as we should ban jetliners and bicycles, or maybe not! J Thorac Dis. 2016;8(Suppl10):S818-S823.


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