When I started medical school, I immediately began to question whether it was right for me. My first block was anatomy and I’ll be honest: I hated it. Coming from a big science background, anatomy was horrible. All these structures to memorize and there was no logic to most of their names–you just had to commit them to memory.
I feel that sometimes this attitude to memorize everything carries through in medical school and in clinical practice as well. Granted, there isn’t much time in medical school, but I used to get increasingly frustrated that no one seemed to care about the “why.” Personally, I find the “why” of medicine to be extremely important. You don’t truly understand something until you understand why it occurs. In fact, I find it’s easier to “memorize” things if I actually get why it happens. Why do we get two blood cultures when someone spikes a fever in the hospital? Why does EBV cause splenomegaly but the other herpesviruses don’t have that predilection? Why does hypocalcemia and hypokalemia cause prolonged QT?
Those are just examples of some of the questions that popped into my mind during medical school. I found that these types of questions translate into a passion for research. If you’re in medical school, I urge to never stop asking why. You’ll find that it’s rewarding in the long run (and it may even lead to interesting research projects)! If something doesn’t make sense to me, I try to find papers on the topic so that I have a semblance of an idea about why it happens!
Stay curious my friends.