Learning Medicine

Learning Medicine
The Ultimate Guide to Study Skills in Medical School

Monday, March 14, 2011


Once again I've fallen off the wagon with this blog. Sorry folks (whoever is still reading this).

The thing is, whenever I come up with an idea to write about, I always turn back because I think that I'll never have sufficient time or energy to develop what I want to say. I need to get better at just writing whatever is on my mind, when I'm thinking it.

So what's been happening lately?

This weekend was Medical Families Weekend. As the name implies, all the families of Duke Med students are invited to the school to mingle and to see what we go through everyday as medical students.

My family really hasn't been to involved in my schooling. For one reason or another - usually geography, time or money - they aren't able to make it to school for functions like this, but this time, they did. I invited my dad and his wife, and their two kids, as well as Priscilla. I invited Grandma and Poppy too, but they couldn't make it down here.

In short, it was a lovely weekend. I got to see my wonderful fiance and I had the opportunity to show my dad where I live, what I'm doing, where I go everyday, etc. I don't think he or his wife have ever seen a school as beautiful as Duke. The campus is a sight to behold, and I'd be hard pressed to find someone who isn't impressed by the neo-gothic architecture of the school. We strolled through Duke gardens, saw Cameron indoor stadium, mingled with the other families at lunch at Cameron, and watched the Student Faculty Show together on Friday night.

It was an enjoyable experience to meet the families of my classmates. These are the people who made the 100 students who make my class.

Now it's back to reality. I'm studying immunology and pathology this week. I'm really liking what I'm learning and the kind of arrangement I've made for myself. I'll write about that in more detail soon, but here's a synopsis of what I'm doing.

I've given up interest learning to the class. I'm not looking to make high grades on Duke's exams anymore. Pass/fail grading liberated us from that. So long as I pass, which isn't too hard, I can study what I want, when I want. It's up to me to determine what is most valuable to learn. Sad to say, I'm not always confident that the professors at Duke Med want us to know is relevant or adequate for being a competent physician. Some might argue that all the pre-clinical learning is of little value to being a clinician, but I don't think that's true. Perhaps the way the pre-clinical years are taught at most every medical school is of questionable value, but that doesn't mean it has to be so necessarily.

So now I focus on what's important. I go to the primary source texts and I learn in a systematic, clear, illustrative way. No more shoddy powerpoints with some figures and a couple bullet points of text. I can pull together multiple resources to get the full story. I'm reading like 3 or more books at any one time on the same topic, to make sure I'm getting all that I need to know. If i were slavishly trying to ace the class exams, I could never do this.

I like what I'm doing now, and I hope to expound on this learning style more so that incoming students can try it out from the get go. It's all about finding what's right for you.

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