I hear this a lot from young and mid-career physicians in the face of new information, “But I was trained to…”
‘I was trained’ suggests knowledge and standards are static. The way things were done is the way things are done. It fuels the myth that our mentors could do no wrong and they knew everything.
‘I was trained’ is a dangerous way to think. It closes us off to new ways of seeing the world and treating patients. It smacks of old school rigidity. It’s about black and white thinking. It is at the core of lockstep medicine.
There’s the opposite and equally dangerous variant: ‘I was never trained to..’
Medicine is changing faster than any form of education can keep up. If you live and die by what you were trained to do you’ll be doing the wrong thing for your patients. After that you risk professional irrelevance.
When Eric Topol addressed the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine before his 2012 commencement address someone asked him what he saw as the most important skill of the 21st century physician. His answer: flexibility.
Image modified Vincenz Czerny (1842-1916) with Dr. Levi Cooper – Stanford Medical History Center