Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Why do we need to know all this physiology?

We were told by a physician before an exam review session:

Students sometimes ask me why they need to know all this respiratory physiology.

I simply tell them,

About 14 months from now you will be in third year. With that comes responsibility.

For example, one day, you will get paged, and the nurse will tell you, "Mrs. S.'s oxygen saturation just dropped to 80% (life-threatening). The resident is in surgery, and the attending physician is in the ER resuscitating somebody....

...what do we do?"

That's what third year is like. That's why you need to know all this respiratory physiology.

So, you might want to learn this.

My class has never been that quiet.


Harry said...

ouch, scare tactics but I guess it worked.

We had to do a research project last year and our introduction was 'last year a student thawed out some antibodies by putting them in hot water, consequently destroying them and setting a Phd student back 6 months in their work'

that shut us up.

Dr. Alice said...

I never had a nurse ask me that big of a question till I graduated, but I'm sure wishing right now that I'd paid a little more attention to the electrolyte physiology. Potassium didn't really bother me until I was the one giving orders about it . . .

Anonymous said...

Seriously! I get so annoyed with classmates saying, "Why do have to know so much X?" How about because you're going to be a doctor and you should know all the relevant medical physiology. Even the non-examinable stuff. Do you want your doctor to reply, if you ask him some random but relevant question, "Well, I don't know, because I didn't give a sh*t back in medical school."? We don't have to know crap about how to treat it in your first two years (except for the VERY occasional exception), so we should be expected to know everything about how it normally works.

Plus, what kind of "so much respiratory physiology" were they complaining about? Why the lungs expand or contract? O2 transport factors? Or perhaps it was about acid-base balance?

I know we needed to expand to get more doctors for our population, but perhaps we needed to consider the talent pool first.