Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Does your Dr have an iphone?

At the wedding (where yes, I continued to introduce myself as teacher, although I wouldn't give them a chance to look around the room, I'd just immediately launch into the intricacies of the job to keep them interested) I was chatting with a first year med student.

She shared that so far the best advice she'd gotten on being successful in med school was to get an iphone. You can find most answers on wikipedia when pressed by drs in during rounds, and they even have apps for things like proper prescription amounts for weight/age/etc.


Before, she pointed out, everything needed to be memorized because looking up obscure medical information took a long time. Now, it's at your finger tips. You just have to know how to access the information and have to be willing to make an informed judgement call on whether or not the information is reasonable. This doesn't mean we can all be drs if we have an iphone, but that med students need to be able to take what they learn in class and apply it to information they hear on a patient in order to make a correct search in wikipedia, and then to decide if whether or not what they are reading fits with what they already know as fact. And they have to do it quickly.

Admittedly, my experience with what it is like to be a med student really only stems from tv drama like Grey's and House, but this iphone news seemed like quite a change to me. An absolutely reasonable one, but a change.

After all, what would you rather have- a dr making an educated guess on what to do next, but announcing his guess as absolute fact- or a dr who uses his educated guess as a stepping stone to get more information? I want my dr checking up on himself.

I wonder how this change in how we use knowledge will trickle down to elementary school. In kindergarten and first grade we obviously can't skip the memorization since we are memorizing things like numbers, letters, and the pilgrims. But that doesn't mean we can't be teaching children how to use what they know to ask questions and learn how to look up new information.


magpie said...

It really is amazing what gets missed.
I tutor a few 15 year old children and they are finding it tough because they don't know there times tables. When they have to factorise equations they reach for the calculator.
In some ways technology speeds things up but in other ways it slows stuff down.

magpie said...

PS. We all need spellcheck too, ha ha ☺☺☺