I've been wondering why young people seem to have the preponderance of good ideas and energetic enthusiasm. I think it's because they're naive, and some of them are goofy.
There's a first year resident on our medicine team who is constantly throwing out ideas about patient symptoms and findings. He's wrong more often than others on the team, and he's wrong in front of the attending.
He's publicly wrong, repeatedly. And he really doesn't care. He's a little goofy.
As may be expected, I've learned a ton being around him, far more than the tight-lipped who are right the few times they venture a conjecture. As may not be expected, everybody else, patients included, are better off. He stimulates thoughts, forces consideration of new ideas, and all that great stuff that people like to say is so important.
Best of all, his attitude is so non-prepossessing that others relax their wrong fear and likewise pose novel questions and ideas. Being goofy by definition means you're not trying to prove anything. In response, others aren't trying to prove anything back. In the absence of defending appearances, people think about patients.
You don't want your doctor to be a goof, and you don't want him or her to be naive. And for a large part, doctors-to-be are loathe to be perceived as such than pretty much anything else. Is there a way to improve this? Medicine is an understandably conservative field. But I don't think conservative has to come at the expense of stodginess.
My school has recently queried the students to see if the honors, high-pass, pass grading system should be abandoned for the third and fourth years. Absolutely.