Nerdcore Medical Resources for the Creative Healthcare Professional

Nerdcore Medical Innovators

Most healthcare professionals are completely fascinated by science, the “things” that make up this world and the universe in which it all exists. Among these well-versed bio-nerds, chem-geeks and astrono-majors, however, there are few who would agree that subjects in the arts and humanities are as important as subjects pertaining to math and science.

Many have heard the wide-ranging tales of this archaic dispute, and while both sides offer intellectual insights, this article is not about who is wiser — the philosopher or the physicist — but rather about how one company is combining these diverse subjects in an effort to explain the complexity of medical education in compelling and artistic ways.

The company is called Nerdcore Medical and no, it is not a company based on scientifically witty rhyme schemes. Arun Mathews MD, founder and Chief Medical Officer of Medical Center Health System, describes it best on the company’s about page:

“We are passionate about education. Or perhaps, more specifically, how people learn … We’ve devoted our time to adding game layers to various pieces of medical education.”

The company provides an enriching learning process by incorporating visual design and game aesthetics into the medical learning process. From medical-themed study aids to posters and fantasy-styled comic books, the “nerds” behind Nerdcore Medical are passionate about creating tools that can benefit medical professionals and students in a new and eclectic way.

Their most recent project, Curative Design, was completed in collaboration with Eleanor Lutz, design-guru from Table-Top Whale. It consisted of 20 data visualizations that display review information for health sciences students in an enticing and stylized fashion. Occam’s Razor, one of their most popular products, is a card game that describes patient symptoms from chest pain to painful urination and Bacterionomicon is a book filled with a compendium of infectious bacteria and antibiotics presented in the style of a Role Playing Game (RPG).

Just these resources alone paint the type of offbeat picture Nerdcore Medical is set out to establish.

In fact, the company’s contributors have tapped into a mentality that most healthcare professionals are not quite used to. In an article published on their blog this perspective is explained in depth.

Joseph Wong, contributor for Nerdcore and resident physician at Lehigh Valley Health Network, wrote about how healthcare is all about mastering storytelling. To some this may seem a little off kilter, but he strikes a valid point. He said:

“No longer does our education primarily come from textbooks, articles, or printed PowerPoint slides, rather our education comes from each of the stories that we hear from every single patient that we meet on the wards. Our main teachers are our patients by way of their illness progression, their sensitive and personal details, their social environment, and the relationships that we develop with them.”

In order to properly proffer a patient diagnosis, physicians need to construct a cohesive and concise narrative upon learning the symptoms of the given patient. There are times when patients may be vague or fail to explain the details in chronological order. It then becomes the physician’s job to make sense of the case and put it into a context that is logical and therefore, treatable. Wong furthered:

“The art of storytelling is an integral component in the art of medicine… A physician must not only know the patient’s story, but must also take that story to heart and strive to become a master storyteller.”

With heavy attention focused on the details, Nerdcore is reshaping the learning curve and they are doing it in a captivating way. For students who are struggling to find creativity in their med courses or for physicians who want a visually engaging poster to hang up in their office, Nerdcore Medical may have the resources that you always wanted, but never knew about. Matthews said:

“We just want to create things that we ourselves would love to have.”

Riley Schatzle
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