Tuesday, September 21

Anatomy and Physiology in six hours of lecture

We had approximately 150 pages of reading due this week for my AEMT class and all of it in anatomy and physiology. We are talking reading where you could spend 10-15 minutes on per page to really understand and retain the material. The book we are using has all of this information IN ONE CHAPTER. Topics ranged from atoms and molecules to multi-system response to insults to homeostasis. It is odd reading about acid-base balance and then, fifty pages later but in the same chapter, reading about how the nervous, endocrine and circulatory system work in concert to maintain blood pressure. I was mega-stressed going into last night’s class as despite my best efforts I did not know everything in this section like the back of my hand (I get a hair bit compulsive and assumed that if the reading was assigned they want us to KNOW it). After 10 hours of reading and finding myself about a third of the way through the material I had to change my strategy towards the material.

Based on class last night, I am getting the feeling that the reading was meant to be read (vs studied) as background to class and that much of the details will be saved for when we get to a particular body system. I also get the feeling some of the details are just not to be worried about EVER. For example, the instructor said, and I quote, “What I want you to know about blood clotting at this point is that it involves platelets and that fibrin is the main player”. Hmmm, that is a hell of a lot easier than the three pages which go into the many enzymes, steps and factors that underlie the very complex issue of blood clotting.

Obviously I want to know a lot about A&P. Practically speaking, five days of reading and two classes is not enough to really UNDERSTAND A&P to the level the book gives it. I assume an endocrinologist knows different details about A&P than an orthopedic surgeon does. Certainly they were both exposed to a lot of the same material, but some information is more relevant to their chosen profession. Choosing which details are important to spend time on as a pre-hospital care provider is difficult for me to do right now but obviously important. I expect MY students to be able to read a text and selectively learn based on the guidance I give them in the syllabus and lecture, so I just need to suck it up and start being selective about where I focus my energies. It is just hard knowing there are things I could know better if we had more time to read and have more lectures (yes, yes, yes, - I won’t ever know even close to everything, it isn’t rational to want to try, and in fact it is a sign of psychopathology – Go ahead and commit me).