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How to keep yourself updated in medical practice?: Dr. YK Amdekar

M3 India Newsdesk Jul 11, 2019

With medicine changing and growing so rapidly, it can be hard to keep yourself updated on the daily developments at an equally fast pace. Dr. YK Amdekar explains that while it is still mandatory for a physician to stay informed in practice, it is possible to simplify the process of knowledge update so it may not feel overwhelming.

Is there a need to keep updated?

Medical science is dynamic and the only constant is change. Diseases caused by hitherto unknown organisms have come to light while well controlled older infections also surface again. A large number of drugs are available and it is difficult to keep track of them. Vaccines were administered only to children but now they are also recommended for adults. Newer modalities of investigations are now in vogue and several new techniques of management are being practiced-- that includes organ transplants. Adding to all these advances, we are now witnessing a surge in lifestyle diseases with increasing incidence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and stroke. So the profile of disease pattern is changing fast and every doctor is going to have to meet these challenges; hence the need to keep updated.

How to keep yourself updated?

It is impossible to learn everything that is new and it is also not necessary. One may have to be selective. We must make a note of problems that are more prevalent in our day-to-day practice and focus on updating in those areas. We must know recent advances in those areas so that we can offer the best to our patients. There are several sources for updating.

  1. Print or digital source of information is easily available. One may choose articles that are likely to be useful in your own practice and ignore other articles. This can be done at a convenient time and it is possible if one plans it well. It is said that most busy persons have enough time as they plan their time well.
  2. Another source is CMEs. It is mandatory for every doctor to earn credit points by attending CMEs. One can again choose where to go and what to listen. It is not mere physical presence at such CMEs and you don’t attend just to get credit points. During CMEs, it is important to make notes of information that you sense will be useful in your practice.
  3. However, the best way to stay updated is to discuss a problem faced by you with someone who knows much more than you -- such a doctor could be a specialist or your own senior colleague. It is ideal to form a voluntary group that meets periodically to discuss problems and try to solve them together.

When your practice is flourishing; is there a need to be updated?

Patients will keep on coming to us not because we know best but because they have faith in us. They presume we would be doing our best and it is not possible to do best without being updated. It would amount to cheating if we don’t do our best because of lack of the latest knowledge. This is bitterly felt when one is called upon to treat their own relatives. Every patient of ours deserves the best from us and we are morally responsible for it. It is important to know what we know and also what we don’t know, but may a time, we don't know what we don't know. While it is often said that ignorance is bliss, it is not true for the medical profession as we deal with life.

Do you need motivation to keep updated?

It has to be an internal motivation that resides in you and you need to kindle it. You would get a thrill when you diagnose an uncommon condition and cure the patient. Such instances make routine practice satisfying and enjoyable. Once you are motivated, it becomes a habit that is sustained throughout life. It brings happiness in your life. So, start today if you haven't done it before. It is never too late. Read every day about the problem that you faced and I am sure there are problems every day. It may take just half an hour to know more about it. If you update on one problem a day, you would be the most up-to-date in your practice. If you don’t keep yourself updated, please check your pulse- you may be academically dead.

Take home message

  • Try to be selectively updated in areas that concern your practice the most
  • Invest just 2% of your daily life (half an hour a day) to keep yourself updated
  • Be internally motivated to do your best, it brings happiness


Disclaimer- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of M3 India.

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