Sanjay's Section: Probing the Osler Residency Program Culture

Published in Aequanimitas - Spring 2018

Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about our program culture. It is often easier to live in a hall of mirrors, where we surround ourselves with like-minded peers. But this creates a barrier to ensuring that we stay relevant and best support the next generation of MDs.

I believe that a careful examination of culture is essential to keep us at the leading edge of education. In part, it's important because we see interpretation and acceptance of symbols and traditions differently today than before. It is also motivated by hearing our residents describe current processes (such as coming in at 5 a.m. to prepare for work rounds) as “the way we do it on the O.” This is not how I did it. In fact, most of their descriptions don’t resemble how I did many tasks 20 years ago. I’ve discovered that the greatest positive and negative impact of a three-year residency is short-term institutional memory. 

Over time, the program adopted new processes and traditions to promote our core values. It also embraced other traditions organically, without attention to values. I believe that one of our most important traditions is to not be encumbered by tradition.

In this spirit, we're conducting a careful examination of ourselves. We will strengthen the traditions that support our values, and we will abandon those that do not. We will keep you updated on this process and welcome any thoughts you may have. I can be reached at [email protected].