Medical school & Me
My first two years of medical school had a lot of similarities to college. It was classwork and professors, the cadaver lab and microscopes. After class one would study and study and study. Then come the tests and moving on to the next needful topic. Not everything was similar though for in medical school of all places attendance was not mandatory. “Seriously?” said my brain. “Yep,” was the most blessed answer (except for pathology which I will not elaborate upon here). Perfect!
Now that you have read this you may be scratching your head as you think about your own expectations to this. You probably are asking the same “Seriously?” question that I did. As you can guess from what I put above I skipped everything (except pathology, ugh!). Hold on a second and I will get back to Mark 1.
The reason that I wanted to skip class was not to go read Charles Dickens or shoot baskets on the basketball court by married student housing. I skipped because the professors from their depth of knowledge and the breadth of needful topics would move to new topics before I grasped their older ones. Before one concept was installed in my mind they would be off to the next one. I wanted (and rather needed) to get a certain critical grasp of a thing and then move to the next one. That was not how it worked.
There is another “Seriously?” that comes to mind. Here it is: I have been out of medical school for 20 years. Of course, residency follows medical school so I have really only been practicing independently for about 16 years, but that still adds up. I have different challenges now.
I sit on a hospital committee that reviews the physician’s role in events categorized as medical errors or almost medical errors (we call them near misses). We want to ensure that these events don’t happen again. Often a thing called a root cause analysis (RCA) will be done before our committee considers the situation. In the RCA an attempt is made to make an exhaustive review of the factors that ended up in the bad outcome or the near miss. Exhaustive is the operative word here.
Solomon told us that the first person to present a case will seem right until another comes forward and questions him1. Basically this means that truth is found in the details. Cursory glances miss the point.