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Knowledge isn’t Power Until it is Applied


What is the point of learning if you never apply your knowledge?

Reading is not the same as doing.  Just because you have read something doesn’t mean you truly learned how to do something.  Knowledge is simply a tool to take action.  It is the FIRST step; it isn’t the final step.

Listen, as a physician assistant student or even as a practicing clinician it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all the information at your fingertips.  There are countless of resources from which you can pull from, both free and paid.  Do you need to have access to all of them to become a good clinician?  Definitely not.

Everyone has a different style.  So, while Epocrates might work great for one person, UpToDate might be a better fit for someone else.  Don’t think that you need to have the latest and greatest resource available for you to feel confident.

I see this all the time when it comes down to studying for the PANCE.  Students will drown themselves in every review material possible.  The problem is that they will have so many materials in front of them that it is almost impossible to adequately use ANY of them.  Choose a couple resources you are comfortable with, and get to work.

It’s easy to make excuses as to why you can’t start, why you can’t see that patient yet, or why you can’t make a treatment plan on your own.  It’s easy for these excuses to crop up, because, well, it can be scary.  Fear is inside us all.

Wan’t to know a little secret of mine?  Whenever I feel scared, I know its probably something worth doing.  Why would I want to continue to do something I am comfortable doing?  There would never be any growth or improvement in any of my skills.

Heres my challenge to you.  After you learn something I want you to apply it.  You will be surprised at just how many opportunities will “magically” appear to do whatever it is you learned.

Heres an example…

About one year ago I learned about a new procedure for the treatment of an acute headache called the paraspinous cervical block.  Essentially, you inject 1.5cc of bupivicaine 1 inch laterally (both sides) of the C7 spinous process.  Theres a little more to it than that, but thats a quick summary for you – look it up if your’e interested because its actually pretty cool.

Anyway, this was something I learned after I graduated and it was something none of my colleagues knew how to perform.  I could have sat there and told myself I learned something, but in reality will never perform because there wasn’t anyone available to walk me through it.  That would for sure be the road most traveled.  But, would that make me better?  Will that improve any skill set of mine?  Of course not.

So, I decided the next patient suffering from a migraine would be offered the paraspinous injection.  And guess what?  I had multiple patients with migraine walk in the next few days.  It’s funny how the universe works.  Needless to say I performed the procedure without any issues and it was a success in my book.

Don’t be afraid to apply your knowledge.  Reading and watching lectures are great, but what is the point if you never actually put that information into action?  Don’t let all the information available paralyze you.

As Dale Carnegie once said, knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.

Now, go and apply your knowledge…


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