The word “doctor” means “teacher,” and like all physicians, pediatricians function as teachers in many contexts. Every time a patient is cared for, some teaching is accomplished, even in a brief visit. When performing health maintenance or managing chronic illness, teaching becomes a major component of care. Patients, parents, and caregivers are the students (although the complete physician will be learning constantly from those folks as well).

In a pediatric office, physician partners teach and learn from each other, and that type of interchange extends to the entire health-care team. I acknowledge with gratitude the invaluable lessons I have learned from nurses and nurse practitioners, and I hope I have repaid in kind. Secretaries, receptionists, business personnel – we can teach all of them, and their contribution to our education is critical.

Many in our profession have devoted their careers to teaching, and those of us in practice who have...

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