When I was a medical student between 2003 and 2009, I studied from mostly old books, I didn’t have access to much e-learning materials or lectures from other medical schools; it was particularly hard to collaborate with fellow medical students worldwide in the early days.
Now, we are living extraordinary times and when I realized I wish I was a medical student these days, I thought I would share my reasons for that.
1) Social Media:
The networks I’ve been creating in my fields of interest on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and the blogosphere are capable of filtering the most relevant news for me; helping me crowdsource complicated clinical/scientific questions; or provide me with updates and news every single day. Practically, I have access to a global community including the key people in my area and I can ask them questions and collaborate with them without borders. Moreover, I could learn about these pretty easily.
2) Studying Through Gamification:
I hated studying texts and data by heart without proper reasoning and logics behind that, but in many cases, that’s what the curriculum required from me. Instead, I prefer studying through serious diagnostic games such as the ones published by NerdCore Medical. I just received the Healing Blade card game that teaches infectious diseases; and the Occam’s Razor that is a real diagnostic card game.
3) Improving Cognitive Skills:
For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been using Lumosity to improve my cognitive skills in many areas from flexibility and problem solving to memory and speed. The change has been incredible. I found out I can learn things faster and do multi-tasking even more efficiently by learning new methods and solutions.
4) Gathering Information:
It has never been so easy to gather the information you need in an automatic way. I’m subscribed to over 400 medical RSS feeds and check news on Feedly, PeRSSonalized Medicine keeps my up-to-date, I have automatic Google Alerts for different search queries from my name to my field of interest; I get papers from Pubmed by e-mail; my citations are automatically sent to me by Google Scholar and I could go on for hours how much relevant information I receive every day without spending time and efforts on websites.
5) Organizing Tasks in the Cloud:
For the last 4 years, a detailed and color coded Google Document has been helping me organize my tasks, projects, papers, publications and presentations in a perfectly precise way. I don’t have to take notes on paper or on different smartphones, but everything related to my work is in one document stored in the cloud.
6) Using Gadgets:
I use a Shine to track my physical activities, I use AliveCor for measuring ECG and there are more and more medical gadgets on the way which will play a major role in the near future of healthcare. I would have a chance now to learn how to use them because by the time I should start practicing medicine and patients would bring their data through these, it would be late.
I hope today’s medical students realize these potentials and leverage their power.