Sharpening Your Axes

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)

10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.

Our calling to be doctors requires us to be life-long learners. Most of what we have learned in our time in medical schools will be out of date by the time we graduate. We are living in a time of digital and genetic revolution. Emerging technology and genomic manipulations will make many changes in our practice of medicine that unless we keep up to date with the changes, we will be left behind.

Aside from learning new things, we must keep sharpening our medical skills as we go along. The lesson from Ecclesiastes is that an axe may start out well when it is new and sharp. Continuous use will blunt the edge. So will our clinical skills. Unless we are care, continuously reviewing and retraining, our skills will deteriorate. Experience may mean the fruit of repetition. It may also means repeating the same mistakes repeatedly. So take opportunity of every learning situation you encounter. Also always strive to be better than you already are. Success in medicine is knowing what to do, when to do it, and doing it well.

An axe may be sharp. It is then only a sharp axe. It is nothing without the skill of the woodsman or woodswomen who yields it. Learning is a whole body experience. It is not just head knowledge. It involves patience, muscle memories, and our transformation. As Christians and as medical professionals, our learning must involve a great appreciation of the Creator of this universe and lead us into deeper worship.

Further reading: 2 Timothy 2:15

Prayer: Lord, help us to keep our skills and mind sharp so that we may serve patients you have given us well. Amen