woman reading book

According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

-Leon C. Meggin

You’ve probably seen the above quote or some form of it on the internet somewhere. You might have used it yourself, maybe even credited it to Charles Darwin. Although Darwin was the father of our modern understanding of evolution, this specific quote came from the aforementioned Meggin, a Professor at Louisiana State University. 

Updating our knowledge this way is perhaps nowhere more crucial than in the field of medicine. Nowadays, prospective medical staff have a wealth of information at their fingertips, but also have access to constant updates within the industry. Not only can we now achieve medical qualifications from anywhere in the world, but we can update the information we receive in real time too. We can complete an online BSN to DNP-FNP program, acquiring both a Bachelor’s degree and a Doctoral degree before heading straight into our chosen specialization.

In evolution, an organism’s capacity to acquire knowledge, specialize, or adapt, to apply that knowledge in the wild is essential to that organism’s survival. In the medical profession, a healthcare worker’s capacity to learn and apply new information in the field is essential to the survival of others. 

American Healthcare

America spends more than double on healthcare than any other country in the world. You would think with this spending that we’d be saving the most lives but sadly, that’s just not true. America has the lowest life expectancy at birth, the highest mortality rate per 100,000 people, the highest maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births, and the highest rates of skipped medical consultations due to cost, globally.

Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 pandemic, things are only getting worse. 

None of this is meant to paint our nation as some dystopia. However, to ignore problems in our healthcare, to restrict the asking of “why” and to just accept things as they are is the very pinnacle of arrogance.

Our healthcare system has problems, and like any other problem, these can only be dealt with once we fess up and acknowledge they exist. Then the real work of solving the problem can begin. The above statistics prove the value of continuous learning and adaptation within the medical profession. Without updated information and practice, these mortality rates will only continue to skyrocket. Especially when viewed in tandem with a report from Mercer that predicts a shortage of healthcare staff in the next 2-3 years.

medical professionals working

The Importance of Further Study

We are one of the most powerful nations in the world. We have access to civil rights protections, the ability to vote, the safety to believe whatever we wish to believe, infrastructure, art, entertainment free of censorship, the internet, medicine, and education.

America has some of the best educational institutes in the world. If the world is constantly changing and learning then America is one of the best-placed countries to have its finger on the pulse of this new knowledge and apply it. The fact that we are doing so well in our education is in and of itself, a reason for medical staff to constantly acquire new knowledge. Updated courses offering new expertise on existing qualifications are the backbone of medical knowledge. Without it, our physicians and medical practitioners are at risk of falling out of the loop with current information. This can be okay for vocations where the outcome is not so critical, but medical professionals are dealing with life-and-death situations. Their knowledge and ability to make crucial decisions based on that knowledge can determine whether someone lives well, lives with a disability, dies suffering, or dies quickly. If nothing else, updated information is a necessary tenet of adhering to the Hippocratic Oath: “I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for the patient’s recovery.”

Continuous learning also prepares healthcare professionals for new challenges. To use a recent example, the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation escalated quickly, and we are still feeling the effects of it. Things are only as good as they are now due to the research, development, and additional training of the healthcare staff that saw us through this tumultuous period. Through the course of the pandemic, hospital staff had to contend with incredibly rapid infection rates, shortages of supplies, irate patients, devastating mortality rates, conspiracy theorists, new cleaning and quarantining methods, and the evolution of new strains of the virus after vaccines began to finally be administered. It was overwhelming and led to a surge of healthcare staff burnout. If the staff remaining did not have the right education and knowledge then we would still be in the deepest throes of the pandemic.

Aside from this, medicine is more than a hobby, it is a passion. The acquisition of knowledge in such an altruistic setting needs to be a priority so that you can deliver the best care to your patients. The difference between healthcare staff and WebMD is that professionals can take the knowledge of WebMD and apply logic and deductive reasoning, combined with bedside manner and nurturing practice to deliver holistic care and treatment.

woman wears green face mask

The Threat of Regression

If medical professionals do not keep up with their education and learning, then we are doomed to live in a country of backwards health services. Think of hand washing. We see surgery now and we just expect the surgeon to wash their hands. Well, it wasn’t always such a common concept. Hand washing in healthcare didn’t happen until the 1800s when a physician discovered that a string of mothers dying in childbirth due to fever, was being caused by the attending physicians having come from autopsies and other procedures to the birthing mothers, without first washing their hands.

At the time it was believed that illnesses were transmitted only by “miasma” or bad odors. Although the physician implemented hand-washing practices in his clinic to great success, all it took was the ramblings of a rival to have him committed to an insane asylum for his research. It would be some time before germ theory and the necessity of hand washing were given credence.

If our nation’s medical staff fail to continually seek updated information, then we are doomed to repeat the errors of the past. We might even fall victim to the anti-vaxxers.

4 white and blue labeled bottles
Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].