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February 6, 1987

The Fall

JAMA. 1987;257(5):667. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390050093027

I have been involved in teaching residents and medical students for some years, and I spend a good deal of time going over the usual concerns in my mind. Will my slides be ready in time for the residents' lecture? How many students can I effectively advise next year? Have I fairly filled out the student evaluation forms? Will the scheduled lecturers be on time (or informative)? Are the students really learning anything anyway? Do my efforts and those of the other physician-teachers really matter?

These questions were far from my mind on a sparkling fall morning as I hammered and sawed, repairing the roof of the barn on our Wisconsin farm, a dilapidated structure older than the 69-year-old silver-haired gentleman working on the other side. The serenity of the morning was abruptly ended by a loud crackling noise from the opposite side of the barn. I quickly got down