It’s very easy to get complacent after your graduate PA school. After 2-3 straight years of studying, its easy to want to take a break. The problem? This is when the real learning begins.
PA school does nothing more than provide you with a base. This base is your foundation. A strong foundation is crucial in order to build upon, but, a foundation alone is not enough. You need to build and build and build.
Learn the basics of medicine. Learn the nuts and bolts. Then, after graduation, the real learning will begin.
How much you want to learn is entirely up to you. How good you want to be is your decision. Do you want to be the best? Do you want to just get by? I urge you to be the former.
We have all seen good physicians and bad physicians. Why is that? Think about it. Physicians spend at least 7 years studying medicine (after their bachelors). Years and years are spent learning the many disease processes. This does two things:
- They are burnt out by the time they graduate and studying is the last thing on their mind.
- They have spent so much time studying that they don’t know how to take care of themselves. There is no balance and burnout is inevitable.
If you don’t prevent burnout, you won’t stay hungry. If you don’t stay hungry, you won’t improve. If you don’t improve, you will stay stagnant. If you stay stagnant, you will slowly start to lose your skills. If you lose your skills, you become a poor clinician.
Learn to take care of yourself; focus on bettering your personal life. Get your life right and the rest will fall into place. After you have set your life up for success, go hard. Make sure you grind every. single. day.
Go hard the first few years and don’t stop. Learn something new with every patient. Look things up even when you think you know the answer. Go home and read.
Look at the first few years out of PA school as a residency. Become a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Like a child, this is when your brain is most malleable and not yet jaded.
If you can keep this up for a couple of years, you will be surprised how far you will advance. You will become a solid clinician. Continue with this strategy for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, and you will be blown away as to how great you will become.
Medicine is always changing. If you rely on what you learned 5 years ago, you are doing your patients a disservice.
Stay up to date. Is this easy? No. Will it be hard? Yes. But, let me tell you, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!
That thirst for knowledge you had the first week of PA school should never fade. Keep wanting more. Success is not necessarily about the big wins. Instead, its about the many consistent small wins you achieve.