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Wasted knowledge??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 175961, May 8, 2008.

  1. 175961

    175961 2+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    The Shadow Gallery
    I'm not joking around when I post this so....I've been giving serious thought to whether or not I want to continue pursuing medicine as a career. I really am interested in medicine and I know I would enjoy being able to help people with their health. Just today I ran into some problems that caused me to rethink about pursuing my second career choice.

    Anyway, one of the things thats been on my mind a lot is the incredible amount of information that doctors learn. The past couple of months I've been shadowing a FP doctor as well as volunteering at a free health clinic that has a PA working at it. I kid you not when I say that every time I'm in either office (with the doctor once a week and at the clinic twice a week) a large number of the patients that I'm able to see them treat present with the same problems. A typical day will go like this: upper respiratory infection, diabetes, upper respiratory problems, bad sinus pain, kid with flu, kid with fever, bad headaches, flu, fever, etc. Once every week or so I get to see something that has a crazy name and really makes the doctor seem like a doctor (if that makes sense).

    Doctors (at least primary care) spend so much time learning all about the diseases that plague us, yet it seems like they only need to know what drugs to give someone to treat their symptoms. All I'm saying is that they have all this knowledge and it seems like they rarely have to use it.

    I've thought about specializing as well and it seems, to me at least, like that would be even worse. Going through med school to only deal with one thing for the rest of your years of practicing. I know that learning about all the possibilities of sickness and health is part of becoming a doctor, I'm just having a hard time dealing with learning massive amounts of information only to use a fraction of it later on.

    I'm not doing this to complain or anything, I'm just trying to get things straight in my mind and see what others think about save your sarcasm and "quit your whining" posts.
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  3. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    How do you pick a drug to treat a disease you can't identify? It's a building process - learn the anatomy, learn the physiology, learn the pathology/pathophysiology, then learn how to fix it with drugs.
  4. nonesuchgirl


    Nov 10, 2007
    Someone had to make the dx.

    There is so much to know, that we cannot know it all. But we all need to know a superficial amount about everything.
  5. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Like my opinion at this point in my life experience means much of anything, eh. I'll share it, anyway.

    I think that you've learned one of the most important things about the occupation that we can get out of clinical experience at this stage - that most of the "job" is not exciting, is routine, and probably also that there isn't a lot of personal relationship with the patients.

    The intense education is still necessary because not every patient's problems are so straight forward. Many patients suffer from multiple chronic diseases, which makes management more difficult. Not every problem that seems simple on the surface winds up being that. The large background of knowledge and experience needs to be there in order to sort through the many "simple" cases to realize which ones aren't routine.

    That's my very quickest way of explaining why I think there is so much 'extra' learning that isn't really a waste.
  6. Ahmed786

    Ahmed786 New Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2006

    As was said, not everything is always so straight forward. 85% of it may be, but the doctor needs to take into account all past medical events of the patients life. Problem A might not need to be treated with Drug A if patient has Condition B or has another associated problem or is taking other medication. Also, much of the knowledge you learn will never be applied (pretty much all pre-med reqs and a great amount of med school info) and is not meant to be but instead is there to teach you how to approach, reason and solve problems unique to your scenario.

    It is also possible you may need to look up some old disease or symptoms sometime in the future and even if you do not remember a single thing about it, it will be faster for you to relearn/retain the information if you had at one time learned it in the past.

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