How Medical Students Can Learn Everything Needed Even Online

It’s no secret that being a medical student is tough; there’s a lot to learn and a short time to learn it. Beyond this, the average medical program isn’t functionally able to teach students everything there is to know in the field—humanity’s understanding of the human body and all the things that can go wrong with it, and all the possible modalities for healing it involves an insane amount of information. Knowing this, medical students still need to do their best to learn as much as possible. The following will explore a few pathways that can help medical students learn. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role the internet can play.

Learn To Read Academic Journals

The difference between a mediocre doctor and a doctor who is fantastic at their job is largely a result of an individual’s ability to stay up to date on medical information. The latest studies have found that medical knowledge doubles every few months. Every 73 days, all the medical knowledge in the world doubles.

Beyond this, half of what is considered medical facts the moment you’re reading this will become obsolete within the next forty years. This means that every year more than a percent of everything you think you know about medicine has become wrong. Without research, you have no way of knowing what percent that is.

Couple this with the fact that just one year out of medical school, doctors can recall only two-thirds to three-quarters of the basic science they learned ins school. Two years out, there’s a 50% loss in retained science information.

You might be thinking that this information makes your job as a medical professional impossible. To a degree, it does. You can’t possibly stay on top of all this research. But what you can do is develop a system whereby you peruse the latest research and select which articles to read in-depth.

Using a handful of trusted medical journals within your specialty, you want to have an idea of what research is out there. This means reading the titles and abstracts of each issue (at the most, you can probably manage this for four to seven journals, so do your research on which ones are trustworthy). This will allow you to be aware of what research exists. Should a patient in the future come to you with a specific issue, you’ll be able to recall that there was an article about that recently and revisit it.

After your brief overview of the research that is “out there,” you want to select a few articles to read in-depth. Scoping reviews should always be included in this selection as they combine several papers into one succinct collection of information. You also want to read any responsive articles to articles you’ve read in the past or act on them regularly. Finally, use your experience and judgment to select articles that touch on topics common to your patients, particularly if many patients have had side effects or poor results to standard treatments of a particular struggle.

Developing good article-reading habits, including exploring cited articles when appropriate, is vital for a proper medical education. It’s also a lifelong process.

Take Advantage Of Online Tools

Another big part of learning medicine is studying how things are done. Of course, back in the day, this involved waiting for a patient who needed a particular treatment to arrive and watching as an experienced doctor handled the issue. Nowadays, there are lots of online tools that can dramatically increase your ability to watch whatever procedures or treatments you need. You can also rewatch them. Beyond this, there are online simulation tools like tools for virtual radiography simulation that allow you to practice your sense of particular treatments or procedures. Practice makes perfect!

Focus On Active Listening And Soft Skills

Of course, medical knowledge is only half the battle. A medical professional needs strong communication skills as well as active listening skills. Those seeking a long and thriving career in medicine need to be working on their soft skills. This might simply involve a focus on being present during conversations you have with others in an attempt to develop better-listening habits. There are also tons of guides and articles online about what makes for a good bedside manner and how you can improve should you not meet some of the standards.

Consider Online Courses And Degrees

In today’s digital world, there are also a ton of online courses and even full degrees that are available online. Those looking into the long-term education required for proper medical practice might want to consider taking some of their preliminary courses online or even their entire undergrad. Of course, depending on your particular medical interests and fields, you will likely have to do some practical in-person learning. Always make sure that you research the certification and requirements for any medical position you’re seeking and ensure that the coursework you’re doing either reflects those requirements or is of personal value to you and your education before paying for an online course or program. 

Be Open To Language Learning Tools

Depending on where you’re looking to be employed, you might want to learn a new language as part of your medical education. There are tons of well-researched, highly-effective language learning applications that allow you to gamify the language learning process. Even a few words in someone’s first language can help put them at ease in an otherwise scary situation. It’s important to remember that many people seeking medical attention are experiencing one of the worst phases of their lives. Symptoms that are painful or confusing can be terrifying, and each little thing you can do to help people feel more comfortable makes a huge difference.

Doctor YouTube And Social Media Channels

Because there’s so much information to synthesize, some doctors have decided to amalgamate their learning into modules or posts available to other doctors and interested persons online. Always make sure to research a doctor’s credentials and take the time to look into the studies they support, but quite often, you can be given a fantastic overview of new developments within medicine by following credible doctors on social platforms.

The above information should help you understand a few ways that you can utilize the e-learning boom to help you with your medical education. Lifelong learning is required if you want to be a fantastic medical professional, and this learning includes not just medical studies but social and soft skills that can help you best communicate with the people you work with. Remember, the time you spend learning is never wasted time.