All throughout this year, I felt like I was constantly trying to shove millions of names of viruses, bacteria, conditions, and drugs into my head. Studying for exams involved endlessly flipping through the pages of names, hoping some of it would stick in my head. In classes like medicine and anesthesia, where we had to apply what we learned, I actually felt like I had gained something.
Now that I’m working in a clinic, I feel like I’ve learned more about pharmacology in the three weeks I’ve been here than in the entire year of class. I was awful at antibiotics, probably still am not great, but I’m having an idea of when to use one over the other or for specific conditions. The long list of sedatives, reversal agents, anthelmintics, and tons of other drugs is slowly starting to fall into place in my head. I like to try and really apply a couple drugs per day of work that I can log in the back of my mind and keep there for when I need that knowledge.
Besides memorized knowledge, I’m seeing applications to when I would do certain tests that we’ve learned about, applying all of the clinical pathology knowledge I learned to interpreting blood results, and seeing the basics of surgery in action. Learning all about sterile technique is one thing, but practicing it is another. Memorizing disease conditions is fine, but when you have to recognize the disease for yourself it’s quite different. Getting hands-on experience is such a vital part of education. It’s been a really great experience so far, and the learning never stops!