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Learning medicine in information age

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Learning medicine in information age

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Learning medicine in information age

  1. 1. LEARNING MEDICINE IN INFORMATION AGE Dr.T.V.Rao MD When I was a Medical student in 60’s there were few text books and few Medicalperiodicals, and our teachers were the best treasure of knowledge to cherish and remember,their idealism and principles, have kept us long way in our careers. India has progressed a longway with privatization of Medical education, as the resources are inadequate to fund theGovernment run Institutes to the Modern needs of the Society. Privatization done both goodand bad, produced many eminent Doctors who could not be accommodated in Governmentrun Institutes, produced bad Doctors? Not interested in Medicine and with no ethics inpractice. Many times the policies regarding teaching and training remain the same, practicallywith few changes in the last 3 decades. The biggest problem in medical education today is anold one: There is too much to know, and not enough time to learn it. The problem is moreacute today than it has been in the past, because of the great increase in medical informationand even the addition of new courses in medical instituions. How can you digest andremember so much information, whether it’s for your general medical education or yourcompetitive entrance examinations. We cannot be dedicated teachers as we were in the past,as few get inspired by the senior teachers, while memory aids, guides and humour certainlycan help. It is more important that we really understand complex developments in Medicine,or we just insist to memorize it by our students. However remember understanding as it iskey because you can apply the information to a great variety of medical situations instead ofusing a cookbook approach that lacks understanding and applies to only a narrow spectrum oftextbook medical cases. Moreover, once you understand, it becomes much easier to pick upand remember more esoteric facts, as opposed to just trying to remember isolated bits ofinformation. Once you’re on the wards or practical /demonstration rooms, the question ishow to make the most efficient use of your time in continuing your medical education. Notonly is your time limited, but you’ll often find yourself fatigued from long periods on classschedules. Trying to study a book like Robins Pathology, Harrison’s Medicine from cover tocover is likely to be futile, and leads to more confusion where there is many fold expansion ofknowledge. But your primary focus in the medical-college years should be on acquiring thegeneral broad information that is common knowledge. I always teach Medical studentspractice common sense, which is easy to attain if we use our 5 senses. Many wish to learnmedicine through text books fine, it has often been said, and that the best way to learn andretain medicine is through patient interaction and competent clinical examination. But tosupplement this learning experience, it is important to do a certain amount of critical reading.Learning from your competent seniors or postgraduates, residents, in reality many so calledSenior Professors have no time or disinterested to teach the juniors, a tragedy which can everbe corrected? While a large step forward in many regards, the skills of evidence-basedmedicine is necessary but not sufficient for the practice of contemporary medicine andsurgery. Medical students must learn the techniques and skills to focus on finding, evaluating,
  2. 2. and using information at the point of patient care. In the past 10 years, two major changeshave occurred in the processing of information in medicine: the widespread and easyavailability of the medical research literature to clinicians, students and their patients andmovement away from expert-led medicine to practice directed by patient-centred, outcomes-based research. Information management focuses on using readily available information toolsto remain up to date with new valid information that is relevant to the diagnosis and care ofpatients and is accessible while taking care of patients. In the era of privatization so manychanges occurred, it is difficult to define the word Merit, we find many non-meritorious students toosucceed with Time, we teachers have to handle all the groups with the aim of making them betterDoctors or else we are in for decay and many crises in future and we will have few solutions to deal.We all know Studying is not a competitive sport – some students take less time to learn thanyou will, but some take (much) MORE time than you…that’s life! Good news – in the end, weare all doctors. In the family all the children are not equally intelligent as what works for manymay or may not work for some other student – don’t be discouraged! Exam results notreflective of your efforts? Ask for help! Professors, your seniors, mentors and strong peerscan enhance your study skills. Learn from the patients as there are no best resources than ourpatients they are museum of Medicine.• Acquire a general understanding through the small, clinically relevant books they provide the overallpicture, so you can see the forest rather than the trees. Teaching with Humour and Human concerncan help, but understanding is key. Seek out particular points of information through the Internet.Keep a reference text at hand. Read journals as time allows. I still believe that Darwin’s Theory stillworks many perish as Physicians and Society will reject many Doctors if matters are notunderstood in the right directions, Both Teachers and Students alike work hard to improve thefast progressing Medical Information … or else ? . Best way for Student and Teacher is“STUDYING is STUDYING – it is never wasted.”Email doctortvrao@gmail.com