Today I was the instructor/facilitator for a problem-based learning (PBL) session for 1st year medical students in their microbiology course.
The "problem" we worked through was a urinary tract infection (UTI). As an infectious disease physician, I often find myself scorning at consultation requests for UTIs. UTIs are usually e mundane and lack the excitement or intellectual change of, for example, a fever in a returned traveler.
By working through the case with the med students, however, I realized mundaneness depends upon one's context of knowledge. That UTIs have become mundane is testament to the fact that I have internalized the principles of infectious disease management and UTIs, with minimal cryptic elements, allow all these principles to be apparent in a very concrete manner. Such principles that readily available include: host defense mechanisms, bacterial virulence, risks for resistance, alterations in host immunity, and iatrogenic risk factors.
It was extremely fun to try and bring these principles alive in the mind of the students allowing them to internalize the principles.
It is a privilege to be able to think of a UTI as mundane.