I just can’t imagine life today as a medical student. Every medical publication in the palm of your hand. The capacity to create an audience and publish at your own will. Real-time dialog between students, faculty, anyone. Global reach from your phone. It’s mind-boggling really.
This is in stark contrast to my experience. My world was centered on index cards, textbooks and pens with different colors. We communicated via Post-it notes on the door of the student lounge. There were no apps and our only game was foozball. As a first year I scheduled time to compose H&Ps on the library’s only Macintosh II computer. This was plugged into the new Apple LaserWriter with WYSIWYG. Hi tech we were. We thought.
Being distractible and restless, I’m going to guess that if I had access to the communication platforms and tools available to today’s students I might not have made it through. The inputs must be staggering and I imagine that discipline with personal bandwidth has become a critical key to survival.
What’s exciting is that this next generation of physicians is in the position of changing the world in a way that we haven’t seen in hundreds of years. How all this collective intelligence is harnessed and applied will revolutionize the practice of medicine.
What’s less exciting is there are some things about medicine that will never change. Anatomy is a good example.
Despite the instruments available to this generation we still learn our craft by putting our hands on and in cadavers. While the way we communicate and share information is revolutionary, the human body is just as it always has been.
I had index cards. They have iPads. But real time global connectivity will never change the need to master the anatomy of the neck.