Learning how to hone your clinical medicine knowledge can be an ongoing challenge. As a medical student and as a practicing doctor you’ll have a busy, packed schedule with plenty to keep on top of every day.
Keeping up your clinical knowledge and skills won’t just happen automatically, and it will take time and effort. It’s not easy to juggle all your day-to-day responsibilities but to be the best doctor you can be, it’s important to make ongoing learning and growing part of your daily routine.
To help, we’ve pulled together some tips and advice on different ways you can hone your clinical medicine knowledge and thrive as you follow your path to becoming a great MD.
Studying during clinical rotations
Clinical rotations are a core part of learning to become a doctor. They provide you with exciting, real-life experiences essential to hone your practical clinical skills and understanding what different medical specialties involve (and which specialty you might ultimately like to focus on). But clinical rotations can also be intense and incredibly time-consuming. You’ll be expected to do a full day’s work whilst also studying and further honing your medicine knowledge as you prepare for exams.
The rotations themselves will provide great opportunities to improve your clinical knowledge and skills in a real-world environment. You’ll strengthen your medicine knowledge base with patient encounters, physical exams, and different diagnostic tests and therapies. You’ll also learn a lot just from being around doctors, nurses, and other health professionals more experienced in clinical medicine.
This practical experience is hugely valuable but won’t be enough on its own. Make sure you’re still making time to thoroughly prepare for exams and properly study during clinical rotations so that you know all the theories to go along with the practical work.
Don't just use one type of resource to learn
Reading up on medical theory is certainly important, but books are not the only way for you to learn everything you need to know about clinical medicine. Students can learn through various different mediums, and focusing on a good mix of reading, visual, and practical learning is generally a good way to set yourself up for success.
How to study for clinical medicine and how to retain study material will depend largely on your own learning preferences, but it’s wise to try out different resources and find a good balance that works for you.
There are plenty of great online resources to help you hone your clinical medicine knowledge. Try flashcard decks from Anki to reinforce your medical know-how, take a Radiopaedia quiz to hone your medical diagnostic skills, or why not use Acland Anatomy's three-dimensional videos to keep your anatomy knowledge up to date?
Video content is a great way to bring medical theory to life and can help you better visualize what’s going on. If you’re working long hours it’s also common to feel tired and not take in written text as well as you normally would. Platforms like Osmosis do a great job of condensing 1-hour lectures into 10-minute videos that can be easier to digest and remember.
Manual notetaking or even offering to review different medical conditions or concepts with your classmates or peers can be a great way to hone your medicine knowledge base even further. Taking your own notes reinforces learning and teaching others is known to help foster better memory recall and knowledge retention.
It’s also wise not to see practical on-the-job learning as separate from your after-work theoretical study. If you find yourself with a spare 10 minutes while you’re on your clinical rotation, a quick quiz or anatomy video tutorial can be a great way to study and hone your clinical medicine knowledge even further while you’re working.
Read about every patient you have
There’s a lot you can take from clinical rotations, and these have been designed so that you learn from practicing professionals and your patients. Take the time to read up on every patient you have. Learn your patient’s medical history, what issues they have, symptoms they present, conditions they've been diagnosed with, and treatments they’re receiving.
Delving a little deeper will mean that you’re improving your clinical medicine knowledge base with every patient you see and gaining a better understanding of how to help them and other patients in the future.
Listen to patients on clinical rotations
Although as a medical student you’ll learn lots of information from books or online videos and other resources, you’ll only learn how to apply that knowledge in real-world situations by actively listening to your patients.
Take the unique opportunity to spend time with the people you are trying to help and get to know about them and their condition. Ask questions, understand their medical history, what their symptoms feel like, or how well they think their treatment is going.
You’ll be able to practice your clinical skills in taking patient history, especially how to do so in a focused and efficient manner while gaining knowledge of different medical conditions, symptoms, and treatments. It’s also a great opportunity to hone the communication skills you’ll need to be a successful MD and finesse your bedside manner at the same time.
Benefit from the expertise at the Medical University of the Americas
At the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) we can offer you outstanding residency placements, excellent clinical opportunities, and the right support to help you become the best doctor you can be. Follow our tips and advice and use the experience you’ll gain through real-world placements to hone your clinical medicine knowledge to be a better and more skilled MD.
If you aren’t already studying to become a doctor but are interested in becoming one, take a look at MUA’s MD program. Our four-year program’s curriculum includes systems-based studies that parallel what you would learn at the top U.S. and Canadian medical schools. This, together with our small class sizes, 1-2-1 personalized learning, and excellent faculty (made up of qualified MDs and PhDs who are experts in their respective fields of study), means we have everything you need to set you up for a successful career as a doctor.
Our impressive exam pass rates set us apart from other medical schools. We’re leaders in the USMLE Step 1 exam with a first-time pass rate of 98% (2020), so you can be assured of a first-rate learning experience that will allow you to practice in the U.S or Canada. Discover our 2022 residency placements for MUA graduates and see for yourself.
Join one of our events to find out more about how studying at MUA can help boost your medical career. For any questions about our program or our admissions requirements, please feel free to contact our team.
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