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Does taking Psychology help in med school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Deepa100, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Deepa100

    Deepa100 Junior Member
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    Depending on what I school I decide to go to, I may have to do some courses in the behavioral sciences this Spring. Can some one tell me if taking psych will help down the road?
     
  2. Flushot

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    If it would help, it would only help out for about a weeks worth of material in my mind, maybe less. I may not know for sure, but I can only imagine undergrad being a small portion of anything.

    I'd say take the class if you're interested so you can do well in it too.
     
  3. Deepa100

    Deepa100 Junior Member
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    I like that! Thanks!
     
  4. spicedmanna

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    I don't think so. Not really. Perhaps you'll have a slightly easier time with the behavioral science section at the start, taken during the first two years of medical school, while others who have never taken psyc might have a slightly steeper learning curve, but other than that it won't be of marked benefit.

    There's a big difference between theory and practice. What you learn in introduction psyc classes isn't really going to help you work with patients better or anything; it's pretty theoretical and basic. The stuff that will actually be of benefit, comes from working in the field and applying it. The main practices that are going to be of benefit for psyc and non-psyc practitioners alike, in my humble opinion, are probably going to be solid listening skills, genuine caring/empathy, and the ability to remain objective and open at the same time, as to invite trust and the building of a therapeutic relationship. You aren't going to learn these skills in any class.
     
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  5. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    As others have said, its probably gonna help you very little in terms of medical school course material. However, psychology is a great course to take. Try and take sometthing like Health Psych. Its a great class, and youll learn a lot about the doctor patient relationship and about other aspects effect overall health besides straight medication and technical procedures.
     
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  6. nobleheart

    nobleheart in process
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    If you examine the list of leading causes of death, you will find two at the top: heart disease and cancer. While there are certainly genetic factors that contribute to heart diesease, the vast mojority of cases stem from health behavior...psychology. The number one cause of cancer related death is lung cancer. While not exclusively attributed to smoking, the vast majority of lung cancer cases originate from smoking, a behavior....psychology. Think of the millions of lives that are taken anually by these diseases. The appreciation and understanding of behavior should certainly be near the pinnacle of a medical practice.....if we are in the business of saving lives.....let alone preventing pathology.
     
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  7. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    yes it will

    Read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, a notable psychologist famous for his work on learned helplessness. Its not so much a self-help book as it is a review of the experiments and literature surrounding explanatory style and longevity. In my unqualified opinion, I'd say stress plays an important role in all of the major diseases. This book will give you good insight into how the field of psychology has greatly enhanced medical care.
     
    #7 cbrons, Dec 16, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  8. spicedmanna

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    Good thoughts and I agree. However, classes are of little to no benefit in this area. Actual practice is learned in the field. You aren't going to learn how to develop a therapeutic relationship with patients from sitting in a classroom.

    I've learned next to nothing (and in some cases regressed) during medical school classes that are supposed to address this element. However, I've learned plenty during our clinicals, working with elementary school kids. Part of it is character, but a lot of it can be refined and learned through actual exposure, practice, and teaching in the field.

    The biggest enemies to these types of psycho-social interventions are time and financial restrictions, in many cases imposed artificially by insurance companies and hospitals, and more generally, the business of medicine. However, that is another topic altogether.

    You know what kind of psyc preparation would be useful? A hands-on course where you are assigned a mentor, maybe a social worker, or a counseling psychologist and you actually go out there and learn how to work it with patients. That would be very valuable and help you learn some critical tools.
     
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    #8 spicedmanna, Dec 16, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  9. spicedmanna

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    Again, I agree with you in concept. However, concepts mean little without the tools to execute them. How do you develop these tools? You learn and practice them hands-on, not by reading books or watching powerpoint presentations, although these can help provide impetus for action or perhaps a framework.
     
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  10. NPEMTIV

    NPEMTIV Accidentally Accepted
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    My BA is in Psych and medical school summed up the entire four years in three weeks. :thumbdown: That being said I still enjoyed the degree and I think it helps me in general, but material wise you'd get more benefit from biochem, physio, genetics, etc..
     
  11. spicedmanna

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    By the way, the psyc that is taught in medical school during the pre-clinical years is disappointing to me. It's heavily focused on pharmacology and diagnostic criteria, along with a decided emphasis on organic disorders and their physiological basis. Understandable, I guess, given the medical model. There's dancing around certain concepts of a more psychological/social nature, but you never get a feel for how it could be useful, or how it might be implemented. I guess that's what years 3 and 4 are for.
     
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  12. NPEMTIV

    NPEMTIV Accidentally Accepted
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    I agree it is a bit of a letdown, but I also think that your comments on years 3-4 are correct. Seeing it in practice is where the true value will come from it. I also think it would be good to include more training in years 1-2 on how to utilize psychiatry/psychology in all specialities instead of treating it as an individual discipline. This may have just been my experience though.
     
  13. slim78

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    Psych major here. So far my degree has been pretty useless in med school. Doesn't even help that much for human behavior class.
     
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