Our brains are capable of incredible things, but it doesn’t feel like it when we struggle with memory. Forgetting a name or where your put your car keys is a common annoyance most people accept as normal. However, the inability to recall certain information can harm a person’s education or career. In the medical world, it can harm lives. Here are 10 things you can do to improve your medical memory. These tips might only be used to pass an exam or recall an administrative procedure, but they could be used to save a life.
- Use Mnemonic Devices: A mnemonic device is an acronym, rhyme, or other cognitive hint to make memorizing things easier. You might be familiar with mnemonic devices used to memorize the musical notes on a staff or the names of the planets. FAST is a familiar medical mnemonic device to identify signs of a stroke (Face, Arm, Speech, Time).
- Try Using Visualization: Creating a mental picture of a space can also improve memory, especially when it comes to memorizing chronological or sequential items. Choose a space that is familiar, and visualize those items in that space as you walk through the room. Recall that space and the items when needed to improve recollection.
- Repeat Often: There are reasons many of us had to memorize simple addition or multiplication tables. Repetition helps to cement memories. It takes time and isn’t always the most efficient way to recall items, but it works.
- Apply What You Learn: You may have studied for hours, but remembering how to actually do something sometimes requires experience. This rings true even for medical coding or administrative tasks that are less experiential and more data-driven. Once you use information, your brain prioritizes it as worthy of remembering.
- Practice Using Your Memory in Different Situations: If you look at the winners of memory championships, they are never first-time contestants. This is because remembering things does not rely solely on natural ability. It is a skill that is improved upon over time.
- Enhance Your Auxiliary Knowledge: When you are new to a subject, information seems overwhelming and out-of-reach. While it is crucial to focus on the fundamentals when learning, some auxiliary knowledge can spark interest and create relevance. When it comes to medical memory, case studies can enhance auxiliary knowledge.
- Use Your Senses: Many people say smell is strongly correlated with memory, and most people anecdotally agree with this thought. Anything that you can do to engage more senses (i.e. reading, watching, and speaking) will improve your medical memory. Take notes. Read your notes aloud. Watch lectures. It will all help.
- Eat a Healthy Diet: Many foods and beverages contain chemicals that are toxins to the brain, so eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water. Your gut feeds your mind, so a healthy diet will improve memory.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep: If you don’t get enough sleep, your neurons won’t work properly. This means your memory function will diminish. Instead of cramming the night before a test or important workday, go to bed early. You will perform better.
- Don’t Procrastinate: Don’t wait until the last minute to memorize something important. The stress involved in last-minute cramming limits the brain’s ability to retain information. Instead, work on memorizing information consistently. Not only will you get better at it, but you’ll have time to commit it to long-term memory.
Improve Your Medical Memory with Additional Practice
The medical field is one filled with a ton of information, and it is impossible to remember it all. That is why you see experienced medical professionals searching through reference materials. This is not to mention the constant barrage of new information. Using the tips above, you can improve your medical memory and remember the things that are essential to do your job in a way that is efficient, correct, and safe. Follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog for more healthcare tips that you can use in everyday living. Visit Avidity Medical Design Academy to enroll in an online healthcare course to learn even more about the field.