10 Ways to Channel Your Creativity in Medicine

January 4, 2016

It’s perhaps no surprise that the rigorous, standardized-test-based medical school admissions process yields graduates who aren’t in touch with their creative sides. Here are 10 ways to fix that.

Most doctors are admitted to medical school not because they are creative. While things are gradually changing, for the most part they are chosen because they perform well on standardized tests and are smart enough to check off a bunch of experiential boxes that they think admission committee members want to see e.g. spending time in healthcare facilities, an international experience, some community service, and leadership examples. It also helps to be able to memorize and regurgitate a bunch of facts. It explains why so few have an entrepreneurial mindset.

In fact, like most other professional schools, medical school faculties discourage deviation from the norm and students are expected to toe the line. So, it should be to no one's surprise that some medical professionals feel stifled and frustrated attempting to be creative not just clinically, but as a change agent as well. Almost everyone has creative potential. I think, to be gratified, you need to know how to channel that creative and imaginative energy. Here are 10 ways:

1. Embrace medical entrepreneurship and participate in a way that won't get you into trouble with status quotidians.

2. Do things that are creative outside of medicine.

3. Use creative ways to educate, teach and learn. For example, if you are interested in writing a chapter on some aspect of medical entrepreneurship and creating questions for CME credit, contribute to Statpearls.com

4. Practice creativity as a skill.

5. Find a group that will be supportive but honestly critical of your creations. Become part of your local ecosystem like primehealthco.com.

6. Find a way to express your creativity in writing, speaking, performing arts, fine arts, or some other avenue.

7. Mix the humanities with medicine.

8. Study other medical creatives.

9. Practice things that you are good at instead of beating your head against the wall trying to do things that require talents you simply don't have.

10. Continually raise the bar. Once you've learned to play the scales, then pick a piece that will challenge your right hand even more.

It is said you need to learn the rules before you can break them. I disagree. Entrepreneurs and creatives strive to use their imaginations to make the rules obsolete.