10 Axioms for a Lifetime of Learning in Medicine (taken from my radiology textbook)
- If you like it, you’ll learn it; so learn to like it.
- Principles are as important as fats. If you master the principles, you an make up the facts.
- You learn better when you know your goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, says the Talmud, all roads will take you there. But if you do know, you’ll get there much quicker.
- Follow your cases. I’ve learned and remembered more by follow-up than any other way.
- Like sex, learning is better if you are actively involved. When you read, talk back to the author. Be skeptical. Don’t follow authorities too closely or you may become a Brown Nose Duck, he can fly as fast as the leader, but can’t stop as quick.
- Reinforcement is essential for acquiring knowledge. But don’t reinforce by simple repetition: use some other method other than the original way you learned it. See a case, look it up, read an article, ask a question.
- Reward is important for learning. Show off what you know. Brag a little. Speak up in class. Tell your spouse or sweetheart, tell your colleagues, don’t bother telling your friends - you won’t have any.
- Different people learn by different methods. Figure out your own best method and cater to it, whether it be reading, listening, observing, or doing, or a combination of these. Don’t depend on great teachers. They are as rare as great students.
- Quick retrieval of once acquired information is crucial. The home computer is ideal but other good retrieval methods are available. Create your own personal modification ad keep improving it. Without a recall system you are a “loser” , an old man with a stuck zipper.
- Divide your study time into prime time, work time, and sleepy time. Biorhythms vary widely among students, so develop your own study schedule. Don’t watch television during prime time and don’t read medicine during sleepy time.
You can find the text book here. It’s actually amazing for learning chest imaging.
By Felson, B. Humor in Medicine, 1989; RHA Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio