The teaching stipend that is awarded to providers has not changed. It remains the same at $75 for 4 hours of teaching in any of our clinics. Yes, there are some folks around us who get paid much more than this for four hours of work. But when I ask my colleagues at other medical centers how much they get paid to teach, I learn that comparatively, we are doing quite well.
In case you might not be so very excited to teach, I hope to pique your interest to consider adding some teaching time into your work life.
Just a few years ago when I was in 7th grade, my parents made me take Latin, thinking that this could help my future career in medicine. I am afraid that my interest and skill set as a Latin scholar was pretty abysmal. But perhaps the one helpful item that I did learn was that the work “doctor” is derived from the Latin verb “docere” which means to instruct or to teach. An additional inspiration might be derived from Sir William Osler who wrote: “I desire no other epitaph… than the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work that I have been called upon to do.”
Recently, a colleague approached me and indicated that she was getting a little bored with the same clinic routine day in and day out of seeing patients and writing notes. She of course wanted to continue with her clinical work, but she also asked me if she could get an additional student to work with her for the upcoming semester.
I asked her why she felt this way, and she responded “I really like having students work with me. They keep me on my toes, and ask me questions, and push me to explain why I am managing patients in a particular way. In addition, many are interesting individuals, they brighten up my day, and we have fun together. But most importantly, they help me write my notes, and that is more valuable than anything else including the money.”
As you might surmise, I was thrilled to hear these observations because I share them, and many of you do as well. Most of us like having students work alongside us, and it helps to have someone work on a few notes from the morning or afternoon. When this happens, we still have to edit their notes and provide feedback. Most of us add an addendum to these notes to be sure that our observations and thought processes are properly documented.
While the notes of less experienced students are sometimes sparse, the notes composed by more advanced students are usually excellent and are better than my own notes. These notes are usually longer and more detailed, and often allow me to bill at a higher, more appropriate level of care.
So, once again, I reiterate that DPC is not changing how the teaching stipend will be awarded. But while you consider how you might spend some of that extra money, I urge you to think about the other benefits that are derived from teaching. Because I think when we teach others, that we become better, more proficient clinicians.