Dr. Barry Kassen, director of the clinical teaching unit at St. Paul’s (centre left), with the core Morning Report podcast group, surrounded by medical students, residents and other senior trainees who participate in the learning program.

St. Paul’s “Morning Report” to Produce Podcasts

Promise Magazine: Fall 2017
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Photography by Brian Smith

Learnings from complex medical cases to be shared broadly with medical community

“We try to take the anxiety out of learning,” says Dr. Barry Kassen, director of the clinical teaching unit at St. Paul’s and acting division head of community internal medicine at UBC, when he speaks of the hospital rounds he oversees at St. Paul’s, known as Morning Report.

Medical students simply observe, and everyone else – the residents and other senior trainees – participate at their own level of training. This creates a collegial, supportive climate for discussion. There is, in Kassen’s words, “no angst and lots of learning.”

“And with our residents,” says Kassen, “you see, in the moment, how they think. For the physicians in attendance, this is invaluable.”

Knowledge Share

The idea to record Morning Reports as podcast episodes came from the richness of the knowledge being gathered, and the fact that it was not readily available to many beyond those who attend.

Each podcast episode, typically 30-45 minutes in length, is presented by the chief medical resident and focuses on a challenging case.

Participants are tasked with reasoning through the case, asking questions and making recommendations.

Confidential patient information is removed, and the recorded Morning Report episode can be shared with the medical community.

Kassen equates the Morning Report podcasts with the telling of stories, and says that if you don’t hear the story, there’s no way you can solve the problem. “Medicine is like storytelling,” he says. “It’s not about statistics or numbers; they just support the story. So a patient’s history being reported is not me asking lots of questions. It’s me listening to a story. Sometimes the story doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So sifting through the parts of the story, trying to make sense of it, listening instead of interrupting – that’s what we’re trying to teach.”

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