7 Steps to Empower Your Lifetime Learning
As a dedicated healthcare provider, you are no stranger to knowledge. You’ve spent years studying and honing in on your specialized field. From textbooks to on-the-job experience, you know firsthand the value of learning.
As you continue working with patients in your clinical practice, it’s tempting to think you know all the answers. You have some real-world experience, and there’s definitely comfort in that.
But remember back to when you first got out of school and you saw your first patient. What was it you felt? Nerves? Excitement? Maybe a little bit of fear? It was a bit humbling, for sure. And most likely, in those early days, that you perhaps saw the picture the clearest – that even though you’ve come so far, there’s still so much more to learn.
So, whether you’re a seasoned clinician or just getting started – there’s value in being a lifelong learner. Here are seven ways you can feed your growing knowledge base to better serve your patients and meet their needs.
1. Make a Plan
Have you ever had those moments when you text a few friends, and everyone agrees you should all go to dinner? But if you don’t set a time right then and there, what happens? Nothing.
The same is true with learning. If you don’t schedule it – it just doesn’t happen.
So, if you’re really serious about your learning dinner date, make sure you put it on your schedule, write it in your appointment book, or save it as a reminder on your phone. Life gets busy, so make sure you’re covered by blocking out dedicated time to learn.
But truth be told, you don’t have to carve out huge amounts of time for this. Start with as little as 15 or 30 minutes a day. Instead of hopping on Facebook or diving down the Instagram black hole, use that time to learn something new instead.
2. Find Credible Sources
Okay, you’ve made your plan, and now it’s time to learn. But what resources will you choose?
It’s never a bad idea to brush up on your physiology. Start by cracking open one of your favorite medical textbooks from school and look for something that is of interest. Even if they’re a bit dated, don’t shy away from the old editions. We live in a culture that places a high premium on anything new. There’s a belief that new is more valuable, relevant, and accurate than the old. But that’s not always the case.
Older reference books offer us context and can provide valuable insight into the ‘what used to be’ conversation on a particular health condition, supplement, or issue. Reference books that have been tested by time can show us things that we might otherwise miss. Older books that aren’t forgotten are often remembered for a reason.
3. Commit to Learning One New Thing a Week
If you use nutritional supplements in your practice (my favorite is Standard Process), choose one to focus on and learn about each week. By the end of the month, you’ll have gained a more in-depth understanding of four new supplements. In a quarter, you’ll have learned about 12. And in a year, you’ll be all the way up to 52! Think about what that would do for your confidence and how you’ll be able to better care for your patients.
So, start with one supplement, such as an herb. If you’re not quite sure where to begin, check out anything written by Professor Kerry Bone. He’s co-authored over 30 scientific papers on herbs and six textbooks on botanical medicine!
Whatever you choose, try and pair what you’re learning with a product or supplement that you may already be using with a patient. That way, you know that your efforts are adding value directly to your practice.
4. Look for Ways to Be in Community
When you’re in community and connected with others, the learning that takes place is exponentially higher. Forming peer-to-peer relationships allows you to learn new and different ways to work with challenging health issues. Look for ways you can connect, share, and interact with others. Seek out like-minded clinicians and collaborate with them. See what they’re learning and how they approach certain conditions.
That’s exactly why I started Clinical Mastery – I wanted to connect with other practitioners who love serving their patients and building thriving practices.
It’s a place where clinicians come together and say, “Hey, I’m having trouble figuring out this particular issue and would love your help. What do you think? What would you do?” The idea is to build a supportive network and strengthen your “street smarts” as a practitioner.
5. Have a Place Where You Can Contribute
Similar to being in an online community, look for opportunities to make connections and build relationships in your local area. Here are a few thought starters to get you going:
- Local networking or meet-up groups with other practitioners or business owners
- Upcoming seminars or events
- Face-to-face chats
- Meetings for coffee
We’re wired to be part of a larger group and in relationship with others. So, wherever you plug in, make sure it’s a place where you can ask questions and also add value to other practitioners. Look for ways to be active and give. Share, contribute, and encourage someone else who may be struggling.
Relationships are key, so keep trying out new ideas until you find what fits for you!
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Strategies or techniques that may have worked decades ago may not be as effective as they once were. As our food supply worsens, environmental challenges continue to mount, and exposure to increasing levels of electro-smog surrounds us on a daily basis, we are no longer able to respond like we used to.
When I first started in practice, helping couples who had been unable to conceive was fairly straightforward and easy to resolve. But now, as fertility rates are rising, I have to get creative and look outside the box for what else might be going on.
So, if you’re sticking with the same old, same old when it comes to caring for your patients – at some point, it may not work anymore. This can mean you miss out on an opportunity to adapt and better help your patients.
Trying something new can be nerve-wracking. But that’s okay. Lean on your community, do your research, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions. This will help you feel more comfortable and encourage you to continually grow as a practitioner.
7. Have Access to a Variety of Resources
The more access you have to a community and a large library of resources, the more success you’ll experience as a practitioner. Here are a few online resources that I recommend:
● Study.com – 79,000+ simple and engaging videos that help you learn.
● Dr. Najeeb Lectures – 800+ videos on clinical medicine and medical science.
● Clinical Academy – This is a library of clinical resources designed to help practitioners find the answers they need, quickly and easily. And of course, we’ve got a pretty awesome community as well.
Whether you use Dr. Najeeb’s lectures, enroll in Clinical Academy, or find your own groove when it comes to learning, the most important thing is to focus on what you already love. The answers and insights come much more easily that way.
Commit to Lifelong Learning
While there’s no age limit on learning, you do have to make time for it. The benefits, though, far outweigh the time investment. As you continue to expand your knowledge base and confidence, you’ll be able to have a growing impact on your patients.
Make a plan this week to invest in your learning. If you’re feeling stuck or are looking for ways to grow your practice further, please don’t hesitate to send me a note. I’d love to hear from you!
1. (n.d.). Bone Kerry – Botanical Medicine. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.botanical-medicine.org/Botanical-Medicine-Speakers/Bone-Kerry