Functional Unit

Part 3 : The Functional Unit

– Medical Problem Solving –
“The training of the medical school gives a man [or woman] direction, points the way, and furnishes them with a chart, fairly incomplete, for the voyage, but nothing more.”
– Sir William Osler –
Well! It appears you have made it to part three and are well on your way to being a thinking doctor. So far we have learnt about the Sieve and the Card System, and encountered a lot of interesting detail about medicine along the way. Hopefully you have been awkwardly trying to apply your new systems in your everyday work and are finding them useful.

So now let us move on to another major mental tool useful for diagnosis: the ‘functional unit’. Functional units are central in medicine – they are the great problem solvers. Every day a medical student’s thoughts are filled with questions that can be tackled with a functional unit…
So what is a functional unit? The best way to find out is to go ahead and construct one. You will notice that like everything in this system, the concept is not complicated or new. Indeed you may have seen many functional units before in good textbooks.