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Ambrose CS Cheng

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Ambrose Cheng, MD (Educators ’11) is an Associate Program Director for the National Psychiatry Residency Program in Singapore. He is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate training. He is interested in learning, neuroscience, and culture. Ambrose can be reached at ambrosecscheng@gmail.com

Choosing Not to Learn: The Case of the Missing Students

Bella didn’t show up for her assigned clinics. Instead, without informing anyone, she joined her classmates in other clinics that were more interesting to her. Another time, Bella didn’t show up in any clinic at all (as confirmed by faculty). When Dr. Harvey confronted her on her attendance, she lied.

 Charles seemed to show interest in the specialty and engaged well with the patients. Then one day he didn’t show up at work. Afterwards, he emailed Dr. Harvey to explain that he had decided to self-study instead of see patients. Later, Dr. Harvey heard from an administrator that Charles had returned his hospital badge and submitted his feedback days before the usual end of the rotation date.

 On the last day of the rotation, Dr. Harvey held a meeting with the students. He wanted to understand why they were absent so frequently, seemed disinterested, and didn’t notify him of schedule changes.

 Bella said the greatest learning value came from seeing standardized patients and doing simulations, followed by attending lectures and tutorials. To her, seeing real patients had the lowest learning value. She further believed that observing faculty deal with ‘patient administrative matters', such as completing insurance forms, was not useful for her future career.

 Charles said he was focused on passing the summative exam at the end of the rotation. He saw attending patient clinics as optional.

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Recent Comments
Gregg Wells

Some reasons for medical stude...

Ambrose's wonderful vignette illustrates many conflicts, tensions, and inconsistencies in medical education and, indeed, in medica... Read More
Wednesday, 04 July 2018 5:05 PM
C. Kim Stokes

Potentially problematic on bot...

This is a great and very realistic case scenario. Thank you for this! I think the problems could be two-fold. As for why the stude... Read More
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 1:01 AM
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