See one do one teach one is old school clinical education in a nutshell. Popularized by early 20th century surgical pioneer William Halsted, it captures a medicine-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mindset that defined more than a generation. It’s how I was taught and how I was taught to teach.
But even a half-competent clinician knows you can’t teach something you’ve only done once. Actually, you can. But we’ve all seen how it turns out.
See one do one blow one.
Learning something takes more than seeing it once. And mastering to the point of helping others achieve mastery takes far more than doing one.
This dangerous mindset of see one do one teach one made sense during the cowboy days of medicine when disclosure wasn’t a thing, vulnerability was a sin, and ‘giants roamed the wards.’
So let’s leave the monkey-see-monkey-do education paradigm to the 20th century.
If you like see one do one teach one you might check out the 33 charts Medical Education Archives. This tag captures all the stuff written here that deals with education. In fact, every 33c post has carefully considered tags that sit at the bottom of every post. Check it out and happy reading.
Image of William Halsted in the operating room via the National Library of Medicine. It is believed to be in the public domain.