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March 8, 1995

Cost of Teaching Medical Students

Author Affiliations

Class of 1995 Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY
North Shore University Hospital Manhasset, NY
NYC Department of Correction Elmhurst, NY

JAMA. 1995;273(10):771. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520340025015

To the Editor.  —Dr Weinberg and colleagues1 couple an exaggeration of the cost of third-year medical student clerkships with a cursory dismissal of the role students play in patient care, painting a false portrait of medical education as a black hole for hospital finances.The authors state, "if two students and two residents had a 1-hour conference with a faculty member, each student... had 0.25 hours of teaching expense," yielding the incorrect conclusion that without students the conference would last 30 minutes. Their calculation that 17.2% of faculty instruction occurs in a mixed setting (with residents) is erroneous. The relevant comparison is time faculty spend with students exclusively vs time with mixed audiences, which occurs even without students; 66.1% of instruction is with mixed audiences.Considering voluntary faculty time, a cost is inappropriate and insulting. It is sad that we place dollar values on traditions like teaching rounds and

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