Liquidsky I have not doubt that younger doctors may be and are competent , but I will continue to say that the older doctors are more of an Expert , while some may say its just a play of words. A young doctor may be competent to make a diagnosis, perform a procedure or carry out a through physical exam. But him being competent occurs from practice which you gain from experience which takes time .Expert implies extraordinary proficiency a thorough competence derived from training and practice and experience.
Working in ITU I have seen many a competent young doctor still find great difficulty in performing a procedure like, Central lines insertion, Intubation, Chest drain insertions as everyone anatomy is slightly difference or talking to relatives, breaking bad new etc. Also the are more reliant on technology like portable ultrasound. Older doctors tend to have the ability to adjust there practice by touch, feel , positioning, angle etc. little nuances ( subtle difference) they have learnt over the years , that is difficult to be taught but has to be learnt from clinical practice and experience.
For nurses I think it can be best explained by Benner's novice to expert model, in the acquisition and development of a skill, one passes through five levels of proficiency:
* novice * advanced beginner * competent * proficient * expert
Its like Competent implies individual dexterity in execution or performance whereas Expert implies extraordinary proficiency and often connotes knowledge as well as technical skill. I know its a subtle difference but in the real world it makes a big difference.
As Andie alluded in her post the younger doctor was efficient, his bedside manner and approached to a physical exam left a lot to be desired and its these subtle difference that patients pick up on. When you are ill you really want someone who listens formost , does a thorough exam,follows up, and is genuinely concerned.