The role of the attending physician is crucial to the education of house staff and students. Nevertheless, certain aspects of this role have not been the subject of serious discussion or scrutiny.1 What are the attending physician's expectations as a teacher? Are they compatible with the needs of students and house staff? We will examine these questions as they relate to the attending physician's effectiveness as an educator. Several principles and behaviors that we describe, if implemented, should make the attending physician's experience more gratifying.
These ideas developed from our personal observations as attending physicians and from the comments of fellow faculty members in the Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, at scheduled evening conferences related to patient care and teaching. The department is comprised of a full-time hospital-based faculty, the majority of whom spend 20% to 30% of their time in patient