Skip Navigation

Million Dollar Baby

Phillip Smith

As a third year medical student I have had numerous opportunities to observe Attendings interact and communicate with their residents in a positive way. In the presence of an Attending the preceptor-pupil relationship quickly forms. When the preceptor arrives the pupil quickly breaks from the taxing progress note they were working on, chairs turn around, backs straighten up, and full attention is directed towards the established expert in medical practice. Once this preceptor-pupil relationship is formed, the teaching begins.

First, the preceptor avoids paternalism by establishing rapport with his or her pupil. For example by asking how their weekend or night was. Next the preceptor establishes a baseline of where his or her pupil exists regarding current patient care. With respect and compassion the preceptor begins to fill in the holes. The pupil is amazed at the preceptor's ability to help them develop understanding and solutions to clinical problems.

Suddenly the epiphanic head nodding occurs, things start to click for the pupil, and ultimately the gift of knowledge is exchanged.

The adept preceptor appears to thrive off of his or her pupil's success. Realizing every opportunity to give knowledge inspires his or her pupil and helps them thrive as well. The competent resident appears to mimic their preceptor and practices establishing and maintaining the preceptor-pupil relationship with pupils of their own. Such communication appears to nourish the medical student with failure to thrive.


Phillip Smith
Year in Medical School:
Favorite Quotation:
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge; it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.​"
- Charles Darwin

« previous | next »

Last Updated: 03-06-2014
Wake Forest Baptist Ranked among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’  25 Years in a Row by U.S. News & World ReportComprehensive Cancer Centers National Designation is Renewed2017-2018 Best DoctorsNursing Magnet StatusJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

© Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. All Rights Reserved.