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Doctors Reveal What They Learned In School That They've Never Put Into Practice

Doctors Reveal What They Learned In School That They've Never Put Into Practice

Everyone has their personal "algebra" moment in their major. Like, when am I ever going to use this? It even crops up in the medical field.

u/Nebula-X1 asked:

Doctors of reddit, what's something you learned while at university that you have never used in practice?

Here were some of the answers.

Phys Ed


85% of it :(

Oh, the retina has ten layers and you want me to memorize each of them? Alrighty..


I'm a physical therapist. On 2 of my gross anatomy practicals I needed I be able to identify the quadrate or caudate lobes of the liver. Which I now use all the time when I'm assisting in surgery. /sarcasm


Also physical therapist here, that comment hit right in the feels. So much useless internal med stuff...


It's Electric Between Us

Electrical Physics. We protested. We said it was too hard and useless. We were told we needed to know that because "Thats how the MRI machine works". It works by clicking "scan"


I had to learn the way X-ray works (it's not that profound what we learn in imaging) and lots about technic to explain to patients. In geriatric service people get their questions underappreciated (by the people that operate the artifact, in my experience) and some are really scared of these and EKG. A minute or two could make a lot for them.


The Bite Of A Mite

Not me but my father. He told me when he was in med school he learned about Tsutsugamushi fever, but never had the opportunity to diagnose it. It's a parasite caused by the bite of a mite.

I learned about it when I was a kid and was playing the Raiders of the Lost Ark game on the Atari 2600. There were flies that would bite Indy and paralyze him for a moment. My father saw this and went "OOOH!! Tsutsugamushi fever!!"


Not The Right Kinda Chem

Organic chemistry. The most dreaded prerequisite is also the most useless.


Would have to agree XD

I routinely need to brush up a thing or two on organic chem to understand some researches/updates/journals. But mostly, biochem is really just what's relevant, for my personal practice, I mean.


I agree. Biochemistry and inorganic chemistry are far more relevant to what we do in practice.


First Day


The first day of optometry school one of our professors taught us this:

What do you do if a patient's eyeball pops out? - Put it back in.

When do you do it? - As quickly as you can.

Still waiting for a patient's eyeball to pop out so I can put it back in as quickly as I can.


Grade Point Average

Not a Doctor, but patient with a somewhat rare disease. I have Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (also known as GPA or Wegner's Granulomatosis) and Doctors are usually excited to see me, which is weird. It's in the sweet spot of being common enough to have probably been studied in med school while still exotic enough that they may have never treated someone with it. Makes me feel like a diseased unicorn.



Still a 4th year but severely doubt I'll ever use the Kreb's cycle.

Also half the clinical skills seem superfluous/useless, can a single doctor let me know if they've ever used a patellar sweep instead of tap? I also swear I've never seen a clinician do tactile vocal fremitus, fluid thrill or percuss the f---ing clavicle like we're supposed to. I could be wrong but all seem very low yield skills for doctors who are very pressed for time.

Meanwhile we never actually get taught the special tests for the muskuloskeletal examinations that would allow you to make a diagnosis... med school seems to have its priorities in the wrong place a lot.

On a positive note though i actually have been surprised how much a (very) basic understanding of complex stuff like embryology and clotting/complement cascades actually comes in useful. It's stuff you learn in detail once in 1st/2nd year so that by the time you finish you remember a tiny bit which is generally the amount you actually need to know.


Humans In Check

Compassion. And taking the time to talk to patients. Almost impossible since I only got 15 min or so with each patient.


I read in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" , that doctors who spend an extra minute with patients and allow them an opportunity to ask questions and understand what's happening, have their malpractice charges drop to almost Zero, even if they're at fault. Statistically, empathy and bed side manner, can go an inconceivably long way.


Unexpected For A Vet

I'm a veterinarian in the US. Our education is similar to that in human medicine (4 years of undergraduate degree and 4 years of medical school).

In undergraduate, many of the required classes to apply to vet school do not apply to vet school itself or clinical practice. Most of chemistry, physics, and some mathematics haven't played any role in my life since passing them, though some of these classes may play a role in research settings.

However, these classes also set up a strong foundation for learning how to study, retain complicated information, and apply old concepts to new situations. Without going through them, I think the information overload through much of medical school would be overwhelming. My classmates that struggled the most in early vet school never "learned how to learn" in undergrad and were ineffective at studying and time budgeting.

In vet school itself we spent a huge amount of time on information that I haven't yet used in clinical practice. Part of that is the nature of veterinary medicine; we must understand the biological systems of different animals, and the variations between species can be subtle and nuanced. It is our responsibility as stewards of public health and champions of the human-animal bond. As a result, I know a lot of little details such as the types of mites that affect backyard chickens, dietary needs of asian fisher cats in relation to incidence of bladder cancer, and legal considerations for interstate sale of raw milk. God help me if I have to act as an expert some of these factoids at an emergency small animal hospital in a city.

The biggest culprit of something time-intensive with relatively little personal benefit in clinical practice was actually anatomy/physiology. I studied 2-4 hours a day 5-6 days per week and went to three 3 hour labs per week for 2 semesters, learning many hundreds of vocabulary terms and the comparative anatomic differences between dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, horses, camels, and chickens. Although some surgeons may need to remember more of these terms, in general most veterinarians I know (myself included) have let ourselves forget 80-90% of these terms. At the end of the day I don't need to know what muscle groups are nourished by the brachial artery as long as I can tell there is appropriate circulation and blood supply. But it still wasn't a waste of time, as I can remember what to look up if I needed the information for a certain case.

Part of the challenge of educating the medical profession is that there is so much detail, and many people in the classroom will go down different career paths. A diagram of electrolyte flow during the cardiac action potential I saw years ago may not affect my clinical decision making looking at an EKG, but that same diagram may have changed how a classmate working in research would approach an experiment. Kind of like how surgeons use anatomy more in daily life than I do on ER.

I assume this question is being asked because it feels tedious to learn all of these minor nuances that don't seem to have any clinical bearing. However, you'll find that as time goes by, it is nice to see a term and recognize that you knew it once and that you can easily remind yourself by quickly reviewing notes. Also, doctors generally are held accountable for a wide breadth of knowledge relating to how biological systems work and interact. Just because you won't use some info in clinical practice doesn't mean you'll go your whole life not needing to know about it. And it's satisfying to answer a question or recall something you didn't think you'd need to remember. Keep focused and keep going! You can do it!


Litora Multum Ille



I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was a kid, and everyone told me to pick Latin in high school for language because it will help with better understanding "medical terms." Then, in undergrad, we were required to to do 1 year of a language, so again I took Latin, continuing to think that it somehow would help in medical school. Spoiler: it doesn't help more than any other language, not one bit.

You don't need a background in Latin to learn the difference between -phobia and -philia. That will come naturally with the tonnage of medical terms you will have to learn regardless. The language of medicine is (usually) functional in nature and just "makes sense" when you learn medicine itself. It's like asking computer scientists to learn assembly because that's technically the most fundamental machine language, when in reality it does little to prepare you for a career programming in JavaScript.

Learn Spanish if you want to go into medicine (in the US). You will still learn sentence structure, conjugating words, tense, etc., but you will pick up an extremely useful tool to speak with patients. Be conversationally competent in Spanish and then pick up the Spanish medical terms in med school/residency. That is infinitely more useful than being able to pick out the subjunctive clause or recall passages from the Aeneid.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.