A Doctor Never Stops Learning

I often get questions from students on how long it takes to become a doctor or an anesthetist or a surgeon – and the answer is: Forever!

Let me explain?

When you commit towards a career in medicine, you will have to study a certain number of years in medical school before you are qualified.

Then follows a number of years of residency, and you will still be studying.

Even when you qualify, you will have to keep abreast with the latest treatment modalities and medication in your field of practice.

You will have to study articles in medical journals and you will have to attend medical congresses.

You really owe it to your patients to only offer them the best and latest technologies, and therefore you will have to keep up with the latest developments and information in your field of practice.

So, to some extent, you will be studying for the rest of your life!

Recently I had the privilege to attend a great conference on Maxillofacial Surgery:




…in the beautiful town of George in the Southern Cape in South Africa:



Have a look at a video clip of a world expert speaking on repairing malformations of the mandible (lower jaw)…

That covers the first part: “always remain a student!”


Now, the second part: “Always remain a teacher”

Share your knowledge. In medicine new methods and developments are published – not patented.

You want patients and doctors all over the world to share in your knowledge and new discoveries and benefit from the new information.

Be liberal with your teaching and help your juniors to be exceptionally great doctors. By giving you will receive back in multiplication!

In medical school there is a saying: “See one, do one, teach one.” So learn from the experts. See what and how they are doing things (more than once!), then do the procedure under supervision until you are comfortable with the amount of experience that you have.

Then start teaching. Share the knowledge and information liberally.

Teaching makes the knowledge stay. You will retain your knowledge permanently by teaching it.

As a private doctor, keep a morning or an afternoon open to teach new students at your faculty. Since you have received so much, start giving back!

Aren’t we lucky to be able to study medicine? A lifelong opportunity of getting new knowledge and information, of pioneering and discovering new breakthroughs, new methods and ways of treating and benefiting our patients!

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