* * Anonymous Doc

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A commenter asked in the comments on the previous post about my reference to the lackluster state of medical education. I wasn't necessarily intending to make a serious point in the post, but, sure, I'll try. It's superficial. There are big topic areas that patients, especially in an outpatient clinic setting, expect their doctor to know something about, and medical school just doesn't touch them. Ophthalmology, dermatology, allergies, smaller specialties like that. There's elective time, but you still can't cover them all. And even the ones you do cover-- two weeks shadowing an ophthalmologist, who's mostly performing plastic surgery on the bags under rich people's eyes, doesn't really accomplish anything as far as adding useful knowledge. I don't necessarily have a solution-- more time learning one thing means less time learning something else-- and I know it's expected that interns (and residents) can't do things entirely on their own, and that's why there are attendings, and there's supervision, and checks in the system... and of course you get better over time and with more exposure to patients... but that doesn't mean you don't start out lost and mostly unprepared for the situations you're forced to deal with.


  1. I always find it darkly funny when I'm confronted with something that I realize I will probably never "officially" learn in med school. (Basically anything somebody might ask their family doctor.)

    Hell, I have classmates who still believe the myth of blood really being blue when unoxygenated, and red when oxygenated. We start clinical rotations this year.

  2. The ONLY thing I want from my PCP, in addition to ordinary things like treating infections and keeping me current on vaccinations, is to KNOW when he's out of his depth, and needs to refer. Modern medicine is WAY too complex for ANYONE to know everything, and I respect the PCP's who are willing to work with other doctors to keep me as healthy as possible!

  3. Thanks for the response. Well put.