The Coming Catastrophe of Medical and Nursing Education

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the heat, intricacies, and excitement over the politics, economics, and technologies of Health Care (and Healthcare – know the difference).

But you know what? We still need brains and hands to do important work.

It’s important for the right kinds of brains to enter life-long nursing and medical careers.

Right now, however, we are approaching a catastrophe in education – and from two ends: supply and demand. Both the supply of educational resources and the demand of the new generation for serving in Health Care are decreasing.

Today’s physicians don’t feel like they’re doing what they signed up to do.

Today’s nurses don’t feel like they’re doing what they signed up to do.

Each are fighting unnecessary wars with unnecessary people who subjugate the industry with their unnecessary idiocies.

Furthermore, we not only need a new generation of dedicated, educated, and well-trained HCPs, but we also need a new – pardon the expression – industrial complex of how Nursing and Medicine work with each other for the benefit of patients.

I can’t tell you how priceless it was for me to be able to attend an occasional lecture by a physician during nursing school.

But that’s not nearly enough.

Yes, nursing and medicine are different fields – and there are reasons for some of the barriers between them.

But the membranes that separate these professions must be much more osmotic than they ever have been.

Finding ways to better inter-mesh nursing and medical education would produce more educated nurses and physicians. It may be a higher up-front cost to do, but the long-term yields would be well worth the capital.

You can do all sorts of financial reform in Healthcare.

You can do all sorts of things with technologies in Healthcare.

That’s all welcome, of course – if done elegantly.

But none of that will convey Health Care to the places it needs to go if we don’t have a running supply of nurses, physicians, and other HCPs.

Slavoj Zizek wrote a book a few years ago titled “First As Tragedy, Then As Farce”.

You don’t have to agree or disagree with Zizek’s mashup of Hegelian/Lacanian analytics of our Century’s problems.

But, given the state of Healthcare, it’s an apt description of where we’re heading.

Think about that phrase as you reflect on Healthcare today. How many times have you encountered the Farce?

It’s absolutely farcical that there are Hospital CEOs who wouldn’t have the slightest clue about moving a patient from a bed to a chair.

It’s absolutely catastrophic that we are entering crises of shortages of *willing, able, and supported* nurses, physicians, and pharmacists.

I’ll take Zizek’s quirky phrase and advance it forward for Healthcare and what we can expect:

Healthcare: First As Farce, Then As Catastrophe.

Phil Baumann





Social Media for Medical Students, Residents, and Faculty

Do medical students, residents, and faculty need to learn certain modalities with respect to their use of social media?

I think it’s an important question to address (same applies to nursing and other allied professions – more to come in future posts, of course).

I’ve developed a long list of categories, sub-categories, and topics which will help the current and future generation of medical professionals to safely and effectively use social media in their education, research, peer-to-peer and student-faculty collaboration, continuing education, the protection of patient safety, their clinical practices, the extension and high quality patient care, and many other uses of social and other digital software and hardware.

Before I start to publish this material, I want all of us to put down the “social media in Healthcare” mantra for a bit.


Because there are much more fundamental principles that need to be collated and integrated and valued with respect to the participatory nature of medicine.

The short-list:

  • Patient Safety (words can hurt)
  • Patient Safety (dignity is easy to violate)
  • Patient Safety (privacy matters)
  • Patient Safety!!!
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Continuing Education
  • Pedagogical Excellence
  • Highest Commitment to Ethics
  • Continual Development of Inter-professional Collaboration
  • Participatory Medicine
  • Shared Decision-Making (this is really tough – lots of nuances/dilemas)
  • Ethics, Ethics, Ethics
  • Reality Tunnel Awareness

I recommend following these gentlemen: Dr. Kent Bottles and Brian McGowan, PhD.

As a reminder, you can always monitor these hashtags for a open-ended health-related tweets: #MDchat and #MedEd, and #SocialQI.

Stay tuned.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocial@MD_chat – @RNchat

Pedagogical Osmosis Between Nurses and Physicians

There is going to have to be more pedagogical osmosis between nurses and physicians.

What is “pedagogical osmosis”?

Just a fancy phrase for redesigning medical and nursing education.

Nurses need to have more education about the sciences and ways of thinking undermining medical knowledge and practice.

Physicians need to have a more profound understanding of healthcare communications, people-skills and a patient-centric appreciation for how needles, tests and bad news feel.

The Crimean War ended a longtime ago.

Sadly, the military-industrial frame-of-mind it engendered in healthcare persists in today’s academic and practicing institutions.

It’s not easy to unthink entrenched patterns that cause the wrong behaviors.

But it needs to be done.

Phil Baumann