Learning over scotch and soda

W. Gifford Jones, MD, once again renewed the idea that it s those out-of-session exchanges that count the most:

    I recently attended a meeting of head and neck surgeons to hear about new treatments for oral cancers. But over the 29 years of writing this column and attending medical meetings, I ve discovered one important fact. Often the most vital information is learned over a scotch- and-soda following the scientific discussions.

    It s not that we sit around in the evening and get drunk. Rather, it s that time of day when everyone relaxes and is more forthright in discussing medical matters. And rambling conversation often centers on experiences that should have been reported in the formal meetings.

So why aren t these things in the case, a scarcity of head and neck surgeons being reported on in the formal meetings? I think it might be one of those cases of "people don t know what they don t know," so these topics tend to come up by chance, not in the needs analysis. And in a recent survey we did, the docs said informal discussion with colleagues is one of their least preferred learning modes. I have no solution for this do you?

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