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June 1987

Clinical Experience: Is It Always Beneficial?

Author Affiliations

Dr Taubman is in general pediatric practice. He is also a clinical assistant professor at the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(6):674-675. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460060090042

Throughout one's medical education, beginning in medical school and continuing into residency, the accumulation of clinical experience is always referred to in venerable terms. The message is, the more clinical experience one has, the better a physician one will be. The resident is always reminded that regardless of how bright or how well read he or she may be, his or her skill as a physician is limited due to lack of clinical experience. Yet few of the pediatric practitioners who have accumulated many years of this valuable experience seem to command the resident's respect.

The explanation for this paradox lies in the fact that in the area of therapeutics, the lack of clinical experience is better than clinical experience that has not been evaluated critically. Unfortunately, the importance of critical evaluation as a component of clinical experience is not stressed enough in either residency or postresidency education. This often

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