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Stephen P Wood

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Stephen P. Wood, MS, ACNP-BC (Educators, ’19) is a nurse practitioner, working in the field of emergency medicine as well as an instructor at Northeastern University in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences Graduate School of Nursing. He is a fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics and a regular blogger for the Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center “Bill of Health”. His areas of interest include the flipped classroom, experiential learning and simulation. Stephen can be followed on Twitter or contacted via email.

Educators have bought-in to the flipped classroom. But are our learners following suit?

I was flying to join my wife in San Diego, California while she was attending a conference on ocean planning. For those of you not familiar with ocean planning, it is the process of analyzing ocean resources and ocean use. The most important thing about it is that the people who do it usually have conferences in beautiful, often warm and always ocean-adjacent locations. I sat in my seat and reached for the airline magazine. The first article was about medical education and how many medical schools were switching to this new concept of the “flipped classroom.” It highlighted the University of Vermont as well as Harvard Medical School, and how they changed the old model of sitting in a large auditorium, listening for hours on end to someone who had incredible amounts of expertise and information, because they had found learners had trouble committing this information to long-term memory and applying it to new settings. How could this be? The lecture format is the tried and true educational experience. The idea of the “sage in the stage” started with the very advent of universities as far back as 1050 AD. This was the “way it was done.” Why then were these medical colleges completing overhauling the way they teach medicine?

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Pedagogy and Discharge Instructions: Do We Practice What We Preach?

“OK, so we think you have pleurisy. Your D-dimer was negative. You should take ibuprofen, rest and stay hydrated, then follow-up with your primary care physician. Any questions?”

My daughter reached for her discharge papers as she slid off the exam table and we thanked the staff as we made our way out of the urgent care part of a local emergency department.

She was eighteen at the time, a college freshman studying sociology. She called me to tell me she had been experiencing two days of pleuritic chest pain and felt a little short of breath. Because our logical, medical brains turn into parent brains when our child is sick, I dropped everything I was doing to go and see her. She looked fine, the pain was probably just musculoskeletal; she is a ballet dancer and these minor aches and pains are common. But, I thought, “What about a pulmonary embolism?” “Not likely” I thought, “but I’m here so let’s go get it checked out”.

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