Morrison, Gail, Goldfarb, Stanley, Lanken, Paul
“Team Training of Medical Students in the 21st Century: Would Flexner Approve?” was the theme of an article by Morrison and co-workers from the university of Pennsylvania (Academic Medicine. 2010; 85: 254-259). They argue that to function effectively future physicians will need educational programmes that incorporate the theory and practice of teams and teamwork. Medical school graduates will be expected to understand how teams function and be capable themselves of functioning in a team. They will need to be competent in the knowledge, skills and attitudes of teams and teamwork. However, for most medical schools competence in team training has not been an instructional objective of educating medical students. The authors highlight the changes in physician culture between the 1910 Flexner report and 2010 including, for example, the move from physician-centred care by solo experts to coordination of care in a patient-centred approach. They argue that, if present today, Flexner would concur that team training is necessary for medical students. The authors raise an interesting question as to how to embed the concepts of teams and teamwork into medical school curricula. They draw the distinction between students working as groups which, as described by them, are not in effect a team. In a working group, for example, there is usually a strong focussed leader and individual accountability, while in a team there is shared leadership roles and individual and mutual accountability. In a working group there is usually individual work products while in a team there is a collective work product. This article by Morrison et al is one of a series of articles on Flexner and his legacy published in the February 2010 issue of Academic Medicine.
SUBMITTED BY: Ronald Harden