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Cost of Teaching Medical Students

Balamurali K. Ambati; Jayakrishna Ambati, MD; Ambati M. Rao, DHEd
JAMA. 1995;273(10):771. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520340025015.
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To the Editor.  —Dr Weinberg and colleagues1 couple an exaggeration of the cost of third-year medical student clerkships with a cursory dismissal of the role students play in patient care, painting a false portrait of medical education as a black hole for hospital finances.The authors state, "if two students and two residents had a 1-hour conference with a faculty member, each student... had 0.25 hours of teaching expense," yielding the incorrect conclusion that without students the conference would last 30 minutes. Their calculation that 17.2% of faculty instruction occurs in a mixed setting (with residents) is erroneous. The relevant comparison is time faculty spend with students exclusively vs time with mixed audiences, which occurs even without students; 66.1% of instruction is with mixed audiences.Considering voluntary faculty time, a cost is inappropriate and insulting. It is sad that we place dollar values on traditions like teaching rounds and


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