Keep On Learning


As I cram in some studying time this week for the upcoming EM Inservice, I find I am thinking more about a point in my life when I said I wanted to be a professional student.  What I really wanted was to stay forever in college… taking class after class;  never mastering one area, but learning a little about everything.

Little did I know at that time that I was going to be a doctor.  And, significantly an Emergency Medicine physician who knows a lot about a lot of things.  And, the learning never ends.

I think the reality of actually being a professional student hit about the time I took Step I of the medical boards.  My family was very excited when I actually completed my second year.

“No more of those hard tests, right?”  No, actually, I explained, I still have to take Step I, and there are shelf exams for every rotation.

“And then no more tests?”  Well, no, then there’s Step II (I was in the era before the practical) and then Step III once I finish my internship year.

“Then you’re done with tests, right?”

I shook my head.  We have inservice exams every year, and then when I graduate from my residency, I will have to prepare for written then oral boards.

“But, no more tests after that…?”

Um, well, there’s the recertification in 10 years, and I have to do a certain amount of continuing medical education every year.

“So, when do you actually finish and become a doctor?”  Well, when I graduate from medical school.

“Then why do you have to take so many tests after that?”  Because… see, oh, never mind.  Let’s just say I’m training to be a professional student.

To my fellow residents, “Good luck on the Inservice!”

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