Dec. 12, 2018 — When Ryan Nall, M.D ’09, was a student at the UF College of Medicine enrolled in the “Residents as Teachers” course with Kyle Rarey, Ph.D., he learned a valuable lesson about teaching others: If you’re not passionate about the material, your lecture will fall on deaf ears.
Today, the assistant professor, co-clerkship director in the division of general internal medicine and physician at UF Health Internal Medicine – Medical Plaza, maintains an infectious passion for medicine that he imparts on UF College of Medicine students each day. His students have responded with similar fervor by naming Nall the 2018 Clinical Teacher of the year and the 2018 Hippocratic Award winner, which honors instructors who embody “humanism, professionalism and teaching prowess.”
“From Dr. Rarey, I gained an enthusiasm for teaching. He taught us, if you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re teaching, you’re not going to impart much on the learner,” Nall says.
Nall’s journey toward a career in academic medicine began when he was an Auburndale, Florida, high school student. During his junior year, he visited UF as part of a program that introduces high-school students to the pre-medical undergraduate track. Later, as an undergraduate student studying political science at UF, he volunteered at the Florida Diabetes Camp as well as at Camp Boggy Creek, where he acted as a camp counselor for a family dealing with sickle cell disease.
“Those experiences showed me the importance of having a trusting relationship with someone you’re taking care of, as well as how the complicated lives patients lead outside of their medical condition impact their health,” Nall says. “Interacting with people affected by disease showed me I wanted a career in medicine where I can help people lead happier, healthier lives.”
During his medical training at the UF College of Medicine, Nall found mentors in instructors like James Lynch, M.D., and Heather Harrell, M.D., whose expertise led Nall toward a clinical career in internal medicine.
“Both Drs. Lynch and Harrell were very important educators and mentors for me in terms of understanding the patient-doctor relationship and the fundamentals of clinical reasoning,” Nall says. “They taught us that as future doctors, we have to care deeply for patients and approach challenging cases almost like a detective would — with thoughtful consideration for each historical detail and exam finding.”
In addition to mentorship from faculty members, Nall found a support system in his fellow classmates, some of whom remain his closest friends to date.
“My UF College of Medicine classmates were a huge part of my educational development,” he says. “I officiated two of my classmates’ weddings. I show a photo of that to student applicants today to show them we’re a family here.”