When scientists are looking for presence of water in some other planets, we doctors are trying our best to know as much details as possible about our own body. Starting from the days when dead bodies were stolen from the graveyard so that they can learn about the anatomy of various organs, we have come a long way with the invention of sophisticated devices and techniques like X- ray, echo, ultrasound, CT- Scan, MRI and so on. With such advancement in medical science we are still lacking behind in exploring the treatment of many diseases and their pathogenesis.
Going through more than five years long journey to become a doctor with good concept is not that easy, there are failures and frustrations that provide the reason to leave the course in between. Being most expensive and sophisticated course, it is not uncommon to find medical students undergoing depression and committing suicide in their career. Apart of teaching medical subjects and medical ethics it is high time for the medical schools of the world to come up with some motivating and interactive session time and again to make the course more ease and effective.
When we enter medical school, we are already loaded with pressure from family, neighbour and on top of that monetary crisis. Repeating the definition 10- 20 -30 times may not be sufficient to make it perfect and knowing the definition may not be perfect unless you can present it among the audience.
There are several reason why medical students are more prone for depression, some of them are:
- Lacking base concept
– Some students do lack the base concept about the human body. Working as academic coordinator for MBBS students, I have encountered many times, when first year medical students believe that there are two liver/s and spleen is present inside the ear. They lack the basic concept that should be obtained before entering into medical school, mostly during the secondary schooling.
- Huge volume of books
– There are large number of books that has to be covered in short span of time and often medical students gets confused finding way out to cover such voluminous text in short span of time.
- No idea to prepare for the exams
– Most of the time medical students have no idea on preparing for the exams, preparing for the exams in totally different and going through the entire text book just before the exams is not possible. Students don’t know the areas which they have to focus on for the exams.
- Time management
– Managing time is most difficult task for all of us. We often make routine for time management but I wonder how many of us follow the routine. It is not possible to maintain the routine may be due to human habits or some other reasons.
- Personal issues
– As the course is of longer duration, many times students has to struggle with personal issues like suffering from diseases, love, marriage, break-ups, illness in family members, death of family members and so on . Sometimes remaining far from the home and home sickness account for degradation of quality.
The next question is finding the solution for all the mentioned issues, and it may not be easy to implement the solution in practical life. There are ways to deal with each of the problems mentioned above.
Choose the profession you love, there are students joining medical school because of the pressure from their parents and that creates the worse doctors in our community. The dream of parents to see their children as doctors (who are not interested) is one of the reasons for production of worse doctors.
Do not study just to pass the exams, study to get good concept. Make study correlating every subject with human body and try to create concept when you study. Concept lasts longer than memorizing details.
Most of the time we try to complete different subjects in short period of time and we do not repeat or revise sufficiently. It is not possible to get good concept until you revise the text several times. To get the concept into long term memory, revision is must. Revising maximum times gives you confidence. I have seen medical students saying, they don’t have confidence to present any medical topics. And lack of confidence may be due to lack of revision. If someone ask my name for 100 times, I will answer my name perfectly even for the 100th time because it is in my long term memory and I have revised several times that my name is Mr …………….
Try to create notes for what you study and make habit of writing note in your own way, and do not forget to cross check whether your writing is correct or not. Try explaining every medical detail to mass/colleagues/friends. Explaining resolves the confusion and the more you explain the more perfect confidence you gain.
While preparing for the exams focus on exam pattern and write as per the marks. Sometimes we write long answers just because we know it which often irritates the examiner. Write what is asked, and try to make it technical. Do not try to explain medical terminologies as layman.
Make habit of reading daily, we are in profession where we are learning from books/patients throughout our lives. Habit of daily reading will help you to get updated on recent advancement and will make you confident.
- Don’t take medical course as burden.
- Don’t read more and revise less.
- Don’t read only during the exams.
- Don’t hesitate to learn from any one, junior, seniors, teachers, and patients.
- Don’t hesitate to say “No” when you don’t know.
- Don’t be over confidence.
- Don’t forget, you are human being first and then a doctor.
- Don’t hesitate to respect seniors and teachers. The know something important that you don’t know but you need to know.
- Don’t read without concentration.
- Don’t forget to revise as many times as possible.
- Don’t choose more books for single subjects.
- Don’t study just to pass the exams.
- Don’t give up. I have found that 90 % losers are those people who give up on the way.
- Don’t compare with others.
- Don’t run after success. Run after excellence, success will follow you.
Photo courtesy: http://greece.greekreporter.com
Dr. Bivek Singh
Author “A Journey into the human body”
Author “Pharmacology Simplified”
Instructor (BPH/PCL/B Sc Nursing)
Academic coordinator (MBBS)
Board of Directors, Medical Outreach Nepal, San Francisco, United States