Steamboat Springs The necessary training for a doctor to excel in his practice stems from his education in the classroom and through his clinical experience under the guidance of physicians.
Dr. Mark McCaulley, one of many physicians in Steamboat Springs who teaches medical students, has received the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Medical Student Teaching Award through the University of Colorado's Department of Medicine.
"This is the most significant honor that has been bestowed upon me, other than the number of people who entrust me with their health care," McCaulley said.
The deciding factor attributing to his award was based upon the comments students learning under McCaulley submitted. Students said McCaulley's patient-care skills served as a model they wished to follow in their own practices. They also said they valued the time and attention he gave to them to ensure they had a positive learning experience.
Michelle Rhodes, who studied under McCaulley, said he was constantly teaching her and teaching the patients at the same time.
She said he is a wonderful doctor that is truly interested in his patients.
"He's extremely caring and not because he feels he ought to be that's obvious when he is with his patients," Rhodes said.
She said McCaulley spends a lot of time studying and keeping up with new academic findings in the medical world.
"It's a challenge to physicians in a small town where there are not as many academic influences," Rhodes said.
Rhodes, in her third year of medical school, finished a month mentorship on internal medicine with McCaulley Friday.
Rhodes said she enjoyed working with McCaulley as he allowed a lot of autonomy through her mentorship by meeting with patients and following their cases but provided a final evaluation and recommendation for a patient's health-care plan.
McCaulley said that about five years ago he changed his method of mentoring the medical students.
"I used to make it easy on the students and assumed they didn't want to do a lot of the work," he said.
Since then, McCaulley has been giving students a little more freedom and having them work more, answering patient-care needs in the middle of the night and other tasks common to his practice as a doctor.
He said students connect better with the patients when they were more directly involved with their health care.
McCaulley is not only a good teacher and role model for medical students, he is also a student himself.
"Teaching reminds me of the need to maintain a perpetual state of studenthood," he said.
McCaulley said he learns new things from the students he teaches.
"They teach me things and I try to give them an idea of what it would be like (to be a doctor)."
McCaulley recently had a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 8) with his own interpretation of statistics presented on a study of lyme disease. McCaulley said he was excited and honored to see his name in print in one of the most prestigious medical journals.
Although McCaulley's contributions to the medical community in Steamboat are extraordinary, he remains very humble and says his first responsibility as a doctor is to make people feel better and to help them understand their illness.