College of Medicine Faculty Spotlight: Q&A with Dr. Kristen Fletcher

Kristen Fletcher, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics. Her excellence in medical education was recently recognized with a Distinguished Teacher Award during the latest round of Academic Convocation Awards. In the following Q&A, she shares why she loves teaching medical students and how enriching it is to help mold future physicians.

Q: What is your role at the College of Medicine?

​A: I am an academic hospitalist at the Lexington VA. Third-year and fourth-year students interact with me most clinically on their medicine wards rotation. Maintaining a large clinical volume is important to me. I want to be the sharpest at my clinical and educational skills to best enhance the trainees' experience. I also serve as MD840 course director alongside my dear colleague Dr. Tom McLarney, where we pour intern skills into the fourth-years in their last course of medical school!   

Q: Why did you want to go into teaching medical education?

A: Simply, passion. I cannot imagine my physician career doing anything but medical education.  

Q: Now that you’re a faculty member, what do you enjoy about teaching medical students?

A: My favorite moment on teaching rounds is helping a trainee work through a series of questions - followed by "the lightbulb moment!" That shine in a learner's eyes of having solved a clinical problem is passion-infusing! Over time, however, my favorite aspect of teaching is the relational aspect of mentoring this amazing generation of learners. I love celebrating Match Day, graduation and personal successes with them; I love giving hugs for students' first patient deaths or talking through a difficult patient encounter. Pouring energy into our future generation of physicians equates pouring energy into future patients we won't have the opportunity to meet.