Thursday, September 27, 2007
"Aphasia" is the loss of the ability to produce or comprehend language. The first day of med school is typically a period of aphasia for the young Medi. He or she enters a world in which obscure terms become common parlance, and the terms flow freely from the mouths of experienced practitioners. This lack of knowledge, this pseudo-aphasia, is of course a necessary part of the learning process, but learning to speak in medicine is unlike learning any other language in the world.
One of the most challenging aspects of learning medicine is learning how to speak the language. Although I have learned to speak in many abstract languages over the years (English, Spanish, Hindi, programming languages, social languages), learning "medicalese" has proved to be quite daunting. The breadth of the vocabulary nearly matches a modern spoken language. The time in which one has to learn the language is brief, relative to other languages. The words are complex and not always easily related. The presence of multiple synonyms and eponyms (using a person's name to describe a disease) complicates the picture. Yet, somehow, after a few years, we as students slowly begin to make sense of the terminology and begin to take ownership of the medical words we produce.
Posted by iRDMuni at 12:50 PM