Medicine is about critical skills
- Me: Hey, can I practice my long bone injury splinting?
- Trainer: Sure
- Me: I just really want to develop my skills
- Trainer: ...
- Me: I want to be good at what I do, you know?
- After I'm done with splinting his arm
- Trainer: Listen, being a good medic isn't just about splinting. What you're doing will get you to pass your state exams. What you need is to learn to think outside the box. I'll pick a medic with weak skills but a good mind over a good technician. You're used to a very controlled environment but that's not how the real world works. You'll be in situations that you won't do everything right. I'm not saying that you should cut corners but you may miss some steps because you're focused on saving a life.
- Me: Yeah...
- Trainer: So what I want you to focus on is Patient assessment. I want you to figure out if this person is sick or not sick. Are they going to die? And what you can do to keep them from dying. You need to know in under 2 minutes what's going on. You need to get to the bottom of things so that you can save your patient. That's true whether you're a basic, a paramedic, or any other medical field. Medicine is about critical skills, focus on that.
Semester postmortem: 3 things what worked
During the Fall semester I noticed that I couldn’t really remember what I had just read in my textbook or enough information for my tests. I was also terrible at writing lab reports. I felt, mostly, stupid and defeated. I wasn’t sure that I was cut out for the Pre-PA journey.
But when I stopped beating myself up, I realized that I just didn’t know how to study and how to write lab reports. Christmas break was a perfect time to try to figure that out.
Learning As Craft
The first shift I made was to take a craftsman approach to learning; to look at learning as a skill to be acquired like any other. I got the idea after reading sections of Cal Newport’s book So Good They Can Ignore You. Even though it is directed at careers, the core concepts apply equally to school. (I actually have to finish the book). That was enough to get me to focus on improving rather than just being angry at myself.
Spaced Repetition Aka See the information multiple times
The second thing that I did was to look for resources on memory and how the brain works. After sifting through countless YouTube videos and websites a few themes emerged.
1) Pre-read before lecture (and make condensed handwritten notes).
2) Add additional information to your notes, during and after lecture.
3) Review regularly and test yourself on your knowledge (in writing).
Made My Prof. my Mentor
Lastly, I approached my professor early in the semester, told her that lab writing was an area of weakness for me and that I wanted to improve significantly. I also asked if she would be willing to give me a lot of feedback on my lab reports so that I could be a better student. I knew that I was asking her to do more work but I framed it in a way that she would be willing to be an ally in my quest for academic improvement.
As a Thank you, I tried her to make her feel like I appreciated the effort that she was putting in as a professor by working hard and participating during lecture when she asked questions. And when something wasn’t right, I asked “What could I have done better?”
This is a totally new way for me to approach school but I like it much better and I like me much better too.
Note to Self: Read their Website!
Just called to find out about a shadowing opportunity at a clinic and was interviewed on the spot!
I should have gone to their website to brush-up before calling. Ugh.
Dylan Moran (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
Good reminder to ignore a friend of mine because her comments have been really discouraging lately.