Problem-based Learning Issues in Surgery and Self-directed Learning
Problem-based Learning Issues in Surgery
Every time I have an operation, whenever I discuss my patient with residents and interns who are assisting me and whenever I do introspection on the patient on hand, I always discover I have gaps in knowledge. These gaps are what I call problem-based learning issues (PBLI).
What do I do with the PBLI?
I try to look for the answers usually through the Internet, at times, through asking people whom I think have the answers and also reading books that are available. Whatever answers I get, I process and transform them into knowledge which I store in my brain for future use, particularly, for purpose of refining my management of current as well as subsequent patients presenting with the same or almost similar kind of medical or surgical problems.
This is how I continually learn medicine and surgery. This is how I continually improve my competency in managing patients. This is how I continually improve myself as a physician and a surgeon.
This type of learning that starts with self-identification of gaps of knowledge (PBLI) and then proceeding to actively looking for the answers for purposes of self-improvement is what is called self-directed learning. This is the kind of learning that all medical educators are advocating as the best way for physicians to learn medicine and surgery initially in schools and eventually, after leaving schools.
I also am advocating this as seen in my personal practice described above and in the problem-based learning medical curriculum that I formulated in 1994 that is being used by Ateneo de Zamboanga Medical School (formerly, Zambaonga Medical School Foundation) and other schools in Luzon and in the Visayas. I have also been advocating problem-based learning in the Department of Surgery of Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center since 2001 and in my preceptorial sessions in the University of the Philippine College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, and Manila Doctors Hospital.