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HOW MUCH DOES A DOCTOR KNOW?

By the time a doctor leaves school s/he must know enough to recognize and start treating any illness that walks into their office. 

The picture to your right is my medical school books covering the first five years of study to become an MD. Much of the text is fine print and too detailed to speed read. The books stretched over a meter high! And this doesn't include the next round of medical books I purchased afterwards for specialty training in family medicine. 

Topics we learn include biology, anatomy, psychiatry,  biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, physiology, hematology, cardiology, pharmacology and more. 

Also not shown are the hours upon hours of practical skills a doctor must also pick up at the bedside. This includes things like setting up IV lines, reading x rays and ECGs, picking up pathological sounds with a stethoscope and spot recognition of diseases that can be seen with your eye.

According psychologists, current thinking is that it takes 10 000 hours to master any new skill. In medicine a doctor spends about five consecutive years of his or her life in intensive study to know enough to graduate medical school. That's roughly 1825 days or 43,800 hours. And to further specialize takes another 4 to 7 years depending on specialty!

After graduation we then attend annual medical conferences to pick up new learning and are also required to spend hours each year of CME (continuing medical education) that is reported to our colleges to ensure that we keep up to date.