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Wishard Transition

I walked around the Emergency Department at Wishard one last time before I left for the last time, 13 plus years have passed since I worked my first shift there.   I remember Rolly McGrath telling me a story about a patient he had cared for in Shock Room 4 as an intern almost 30 years earlier.   About 10,000 students have graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine since that time and many of them have walked the halls of Wishard during part of their clinical training.  I reflected on a number of memorable patient encounters that I have had over the years that helped further my own education as well as that of the learners who have crossed my path in the Wishard ED at one time or another.

I also ventured into the bowels of the hospital to a long since used amphitheater style classroom (see picture) that harkens back to Wishard’s long history of commitment to medical education.   In thinking about the move to the new facility, I wondered if there would be any impact on the ability for learners to benefit from their interactions with patients.

The following day, I worked my first shift in the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health.  While the surroundings were quite a contrast from the aged facility we left behind which was patched together over 150 years to a gleaming new state of the art facility (see photo), I quickly realized that all was not new.

I saw a number of patients with life threatening presentations that provided excellent learning opportunities for the resident I was supervising that day.   A medical student arrived in the department to work up a new admission as many thousands have before.   A team of attending physicians, residents and students appeared on rounds.   While I still had trouble finding the next patient’s room, it was reassuring to see learners having authentic educational experiences.

While there are many changes at Eskenazi, the most important of which being improved patient privacy; the things that made Wishard a great teaching facility for 150 years:  the patients, faculty, students and staff have found their way down 10th St.  I am sure there will be more challenges to adapting medical education to our new environment but the commitment to education has survived the move.


The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Butch Humbert

Bio coming soon.