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A Piece of My Mind
April 17, 2018

Mentoring Millennials

Author Affiliations
  • 1Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan Medicine, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2018;319(15):1547-1548. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3804

The surgical case was straightforward: a young man had experienced a radial nerve injury from a broken humerus, now without neurological recovery. Tendon transfers to restore wrist and finger extension were planned. The surgeon, resident, and medical student approached the scrub sink together to review major teaching points, potential pitfalls, and contingency plans in case of complications. As the surgeon reached for a scrub brush, the medical student lingered back, his thumbs incessantly and rhythmically tapping on the screen of his phone. The surgeon peered at him with frustration, annoyed that again his student appeared more interested in his smartphone than the pathology. In an effort to engage him back to the case, the surgeon asked: “Can you tell me what tendons lie in each of the extensor compartments in the hand?” The student’s head snapped up, and he quickly rattled off the answer with ease. Smiling momentarily, he then asked, “Could I get your thoughts on this new video describing nerve transfers rather than tendon transfers for radial nerve injuries that was just uploaded to our educational portal? See, I have it pulled up right here, it was just presented last week at the plenary session…”

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