Do you understand me?

On my first day in the masters program one of my professors said;

“welcome to the halls of academia,  where you not only build your professional role, you learn a new language. A language you will share with many others, a language of your own.”

It never occurred to me what she meant until last month when I had an encounter with a geneticist. It took us a week and a few hours alone time to understand that we have been misunderstanding each other all along. We were talking about the exact same things, we just used different terms, different ways of thinking, different definitions to explain the exact same phenomenon. Or even worse, when we use the same terms, but mean completely different things. It scared me. Both of us are kings of our languages, but in being that, we have forgotten to learn each other’s language. To even consider each other’s language.

In the halls of academia, we are all a part of a larger picture, and the more the world expands, the more we learn the faster we realised that we, all branches of medicine and science are dependent of each other. The sooner we learn each other’s language, the sooner we will be able to advance, faster. Another lecturer proclaimed that physics was a hundred years ahead of biology, and thousands ahead of sociological sciences. I finally understand why, they share a language. They’ve valued learning the other guys language. To communicate, across theories, across worlds. There are great inter professional manuals such as the ICD10 coding manual. But nothing to decode between e.g. a psychologist and an epidemiologist.

So, as soon as you get a chance. Have a coffee with a fellow scientist, from another field. Talk to him or her. Sit with a pen and a paper, and learn a few words from their language.

For all patients in hospitals who are tired of the lack of communication between wards, don’t despair, it’s not that they don’t communicate. It’s just the problem of not having an interpreter between the languages. Hopefully, we will solve this soon.


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