Since starting my clinical rotations, I have heard many people categorize doctors as either “old school” or “new school.” Neither category has intrinsically negative connotations – I have seen amazing doctors in both groups. Plus, I have gotten to learn so many invaluable things from seeing both approaches to medicine.
However, the term “old school” does sometimes carry a negative connotation. I have come to realize that this is because the “old school docs” tend to be the ones that do not modify their practices to incorporate new guidelines and research.
Many doctors say that a majority of the things that they learned in medical school were debunked or modified, even within a few years after graduating. This is one of the great things about the field of medicine – it is constantly evolving and improving. There is always researching being done; there are always people brain storming ways to make things more efficient; there are always alternatives being tested that could surpass traditional wisdom.
But, this also means that it can become very easy to get lost in the flood of new information. How can we know what new piece of information is valuable? Which clinical trial is relevant to your patient population? Which guideline is worth adopting? These are all hard questions, and ones that I have found myself asking more and more frequently as I get closer to starting residency.
This was when I realized the importance of reading research articles. I have always found reading research to be almost painfully boring. However, primary research is something that all physicians have to read, understand, and utilize at some point in their careers. In a field that is constantly changing, keeping up to date by reading articles is something that I am (slowly) learning to love.