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Involving the patient in his diagnosis


Being taught to teach is essential
Harold Lambert Physician
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When you qualify, especially if you're in a teaching hospital environment, you really start teaching as a houseman in a small way, and then more and more as you go along. And then when you become more senior it's a combination of the ordinary ward round teaching and lectures and seminars and all the usual sort of stuff, and it's always struck me as rather paradoxical that, in actual fact, my generation, we've never been taught anything about teaching. And I think, although a lot of it is, you know, some people can and some people can't and some people like it, which I do, and some people don't, I think the... the trend now to do a bit of teaching about teaching is a very good one because clearly, if you don't know you're making mistakes you'll go on making the same mistakes and as you get older, more senior, people are obviously less inclined to tell you, 'By the way, professor, you... this is absolutely not the way to do it'. And I think it would be I suppose it is now that people are taught about teaching, but I think it would be very beneficial if it was more general and particularly because there's so many medical students. They're all over the place. They're sent here, there and everywhere, where decades ago there wouldn't be any teaching going on, but now there is. So I think, I think it is very useful and I think I said before that involving the patient in teaching is not just okay, it's positively beneficial to everybody, if the patient agrees with it, because the student likes to be taught with some real person there and the... and it feels more real really, it's more valid. The lecturing side of things, that's a bit more dodgy because a lot of people don't find lectures at all useful and lecturers, again, like other kinds of teaching vary so much in whether they grab people or they don't. But actually I do think, although I can't remember what they were about, but I do think that I have learnt a great deal from good lectures. I think it gives you a sort of, a sort of glue about the subject, which other things stick onto in a way. So I think there's a lot of teaching that could be going on better than it, it is now. Yeah, I mean, I think that's really what I wanted to say about it.

British doctor Harold Lambert (1926-2017) spent his career tackling infectious diseases, helping in the development of pyrazinamide as an effective treatment for tuberculosis. He also published work on the rational use of antibiotics and was a trustee and medical advisor for the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Listeners: Roger Higgs

Roger Higgs was an inner city GP for 30 years in south London, UK, and is Emeritus Professor of General Practice at Kings College London, where he set up the department.

He gained scholarships in classics at Cambridge but changed to medicine after a period of voluntary work in Kenya in 1962. He was Harold Lambert's registrar for 18 months in the early 1970s, the most influential and exciting episode in his hospital training. He set up his own practice in 1975. He helped to establish medical ethics as a practical and academic subject through teaching, writing and broadcasting, and jointly set up the 'Journal of Medical Ethics' in 1975.

His other work included studies in whole person assessment and narrative in general practice and development work in primary medical care: innovations here included intermediate care centres, primary care assessment in accident and emergency departments, teaching internal medicine in general practice and establishing counselling services in medicine.

He was made MBE in 1987 for this development work and now combines bioethics governance, teaching and writing with an arts based retirement.

Tags: houseman, lectures, seminars, patients

Duration: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008