incompetentmd

2+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2015
2
0
1
Status
Medical Student
Hi

I have the memory of a goldfish. I instantly forget things that I see or are told to me. I struggled through med school as a result.

Please skip this preamble as it just provides info on how bad my memory is: in my final year of med school, I had to type lists to remember patient details. I would have a column for the diagnosis/POD and patient name, a column for subjective/OE/invx/IO, and a column for seniors' instructions. I spent alot of time memorizing these lists instead of studying. Before ward rounds, I would frantically recite the patient details out loud a few times (as I am an auditory learner) in a bid to remember them and people would look at me weirdly as if I'm a schizophrenic. Even then, I would still get scolded by GS registrars and accused of not knowing my patients when I actually knew everything but forgot. One day my consultant let me lead the team around to see patients (as my House Officer was on MC) and I kept getting lost and it was super embarrassing. Needless to say I was never asked to lead the team around again.

Now that I'm starting PGY1 in 2 weeks (yes I did not get a residency because I couldnt rmb **** and consequently didn't do well), I'm terrified because the fringe hospital I have been dumped in regularly has 40 patients in the team list. There is no way I can remember 40 pts and sometimes patients are added in at a moment's notice. I won't be able to type lists quickly enough.

Does anybody have any tips on how to remember patient's details? I am very desperate and willing to try anything.

Thank you!
 

TraumaLlamaMD

Licensed to chill
2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2014
458
771
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Resident [Any Field]
Keep writing things down. Nobody remembers every detail on 40 patients. Develop an organized system so you write the same details in the same way for every patient. Over time, you’ll figure out which details are most relevant and won’t need to write down the irrelevant stuff.
 

FistLength

5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2012
310
459
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Resident [Any Field]
I don't know anyone that remembers patient lists by heart. We all have a sheet that basically has the patients name/age, 1 sentence blurb on PMH and why they are here and important "to do"s. We carry this around at all times. Unless a patient has been on the service for a while I can barely remember them by heart.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hmockingbird
Oct 19, 2018
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Hi

I have the memory of a goldfish. I instantly forget things that I see or are told to me. I struggled through med school as a result.

Please skip this preamble as it just provides info on how bad my memory is: in my final year of med school, I had to type lists to remember patient details. I would have a column for the diagnosis/POD and patient name, a column for subjective/OE/invx/IO, and a column for seniors' instructions. I spent alot of time memorizing these lists instead of studying. Before ward rounds, I would frantically recite the patient details out loud a few times (as I am an auditory learner) in a bid to remember them and people would look at me weirdly as if I'm a schizophrenic. Even then, I would still get scolded by GS registrars and accused of not knowing my patients when I actually knew everything but forgot. One day my consultant let me lead the team around to see patients (as my House Officer was on MC) and I kept getting lost and it was super embarrassing. Needless to say I was never asked to lead the team around again.

Now that I'm starting PGY1 in 2 weeks (yes I did not get a residency because I couldnt rmb **** and consequently didn't do well), I'm terrified because the fringe hospital I have been dumped in regularly has 40 patients in the team list. There is no way I can remember 40 pts and sometimes patients are added in at a moment's notice. I won't be able to type lists quickly enough.

Does anybody have any tips on how to remember patient's details? I am very desperate and willing to try anything.

Thank you!
It's a process and learning curve and everyone will be different. As people above have mentioned, make sure you keep a list and jot down important things. The more you do it and learn how to take in the important information you will also learn to filter out the unimportant saving you time.

Sounds like you may have a little bit more of a problem quickly memorizing details quickly, but as you made it through med school which is a huge amount of flat-out memorization I think you just need to get into the swing of things and develop your own system/rhythm. That's why an intern freaks out about 5-6 patients. A senior will freak out about 20. And an attending is like "Here, hold my beer can."

Same thing like riding a bike, swimming, playing the piano. Practice practice practice.
 

ADDmedic

5+ Year Member
Feb 13, 2013
6
2
1
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
Maybe trying to correlate a funny story or something with the Pt (in your head). I also found looking someone directly in their eyes helps me remember names and important information.
 

Keona

10+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2008
455
177
281
Status
Attending Physician
Usually programs have patient lists where it’s got room number and a short summary of what’s going on with patients. At mine we shared this between who team. I’d put checkboxes next to the names with what orders I had to put in, consultants calls, etc . As a senior resident I would put the same boxes to check and make sure my interns had done their orders. It was a shared responsibility between the team to keep it updated. One intern I had liked the notecard method instead. He’d write the labs each day on a large notecard that had enough space for about a week’s worth of labs. He had a separate piece of paper for orders. Another person I know wrote all abnormal things in red ink. Normal in black. Another rotation I was on one of the upper levels would make the lists entirely themselves. You’ve got to come up with an organization system or you’ll sink.
 

Shufflin

7+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2011
382
436
181
Hollywood
Status
Attending Physician
To the OP, I felt my memory too was poor in med school and residency. Couldn't recall details of patients and used cheat sheets. When I entered the grown up world of being an attending, I found myself remembering all kinds of details unexpectedly. The big difference? Full night's sleep and less stress. I know it's obvious, but optimize your sleep hygiene as much as you can. I was lucky to have less stress post residency. During med school and residency I was always sleep-deprived.
 
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