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Invited Commentary
January 2018

Presence of Trainees and Appointment Times

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2Department of Surgery, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Veterans Health Administration, Nashville
  • 3Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Vanderbilt Medical Group, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(1):27-28. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.4785

The scenario is familiar to those of us in academic practice: a resident is pulled from a scheduled clinic with attending physician A to assist in a complex surgical case with attending physician B. A calls B in a fury, bemoaning the fact that the clinic will grind to a halt without a resident to refract, obtain consent, and perform surgical histories and physical examinations. Attending physician A’s reaction represents a fundamental misconception of the role of trainees in a medical practice. Trainees join our clinics to learn and to be taught. Their presence in our clinics should slow us down, not speed us up. If we are using residents to facilitate patient flow, perhaps we really need additional technical help. Trainees are learners, not physician extenders. This point, among others, is addressed by the cohort study performed by Goldstein et al.1