How to Win the Med School Admissions Game with a Few Emails

A hypothetical email exchange to the med school admissions office of every school I applied to: 12/14/16 4:36p Dear Admissions Committee, I am very interested in your medical school. For your consideration I have attached my AMCAS and transcript. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Rachel     12/21/16 10:32p   Dear Admissions Committee, My name is Rachel and I applied to your medical school. I just wanted to follow up with my application to make sure it had been received and to give you my phone number in case you had any questions about my application. Again, thank you for considering me for a position in the Class of 2018, I hope to hear from you soon. Regards, Rachel   1/12/17 6:32p Dear Admissions Committee, I hope all is going well with the admissions process. I know that decision emails were scheduled to be sent out on the tenth of January and since I never received an email saying I was either accepted or rejected I just wanted to follow up and make sure you’d received my application. If not, I have attached my personal statement and AMCAS application again. Thank you for your continued support in this application process. Rachel   1/15/17 3:12a Wow OK I just saw online that yuou have closed the interview process? Like you’re donee? Which...

Let Me Tell You About My First Time In Surgery As A Woman

“Flowers are ok but she’d rather you pin her against the wall in the dark and personally deliver a bouquet of chills and shivers.” – Jmstorm Surgery? Please…who would want to put oneself through that misery!? And especially not me with my bubbly personality (and lack of modesty of course). I was bound to turn a blind eye to surgery real soon. In reality, I was not mentally prepared to start surgery as my first rotation, let alone a 7-hour long resection rectopexy on my very first day. The thought of being in the OR scared me, being this five-foot, petite female in between those towering men who were known to take command of the room. However, as I was scrubbing in before the procedure, I peaked through a small window and saw an animated, petite female standing on a two-foot tall step stool, eloquently instructing the nurses, technicians, and residents. As I entered the OR, my fears were soon replaced with awe as I found out that she was the head surgeon. In all honestly, I was floored by the confidence in her skills, the assertiveness of her polite tone, and the way she held the fort throughout the entire surgery. My impression was that surgery has been and likely still is a male-dominated field. Thus, I expected female surgeons as role models to be a rare sight....

Three Ancient Medicinal Practices: A Look Back Through History

Get ready to be skeeved out and generally disgusted. In this article we will take a trip through history to review three different types of ancient medicinal practices. Warning, this article may contain content that can cause an unsettled stomach, (but the small amounts of humor and interesting facts can be an antidote).  Bloodletting Originating in the time of the Romans and Ancient Greeks, bloodletting is the practice of doing exactly what it sounds like, letting out blood to cure the disease.  Ancient physicians like Hippocrates and Galen thought influenced the idea that blood was made of of four basic components, yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm.  So the practice ensued that if you had a sore throat, blood; migraines and stomach ache, blood; the plague, yep you can probably guess where I’m going with this.  Basically, any type of illness was thought to be solved through the purifying of one of the substances of the body.  This makes me appreciate history and the development of our society so much more, that I now can have a minor cold and go to the doctor without getting a leech attached to my arm or a knife to the leg. Animal Dung Ointments Another self explanatory name for another disgusting medicinal practice.  Poop, yes poop, used to be CELEBRATED by Egyptian physicians circa 1500 b.c.  It was used for it’s...

When the Baton is Passed to the Echo Boomers

When a baton is passed in a relay, there is a brief moment where both hands are on the baton. It is in those moments, as the baton is passed from the baby boomers to the echo boomers, where conduction occurs.   An echo boomer, Cassandra Batson, is coordinating the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) first-ever High School STEM day. On Wednesday, November 21st, 2018, students from 9th grade through the 12th grade will participate in a scientific conference that will allow them to engage in and recognize the real-world connections of STEM beyond the walls of the classroom.   I was lured into participating for many reasons, but mainly as a budding female scientist myself I wanted to use my novice voice to inspire other rookie females into careers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. “…when you educate a woman you educate a generation” –African Proverb I not only agreed to participate in the High School STEM Day myself but also was inspired during preparation for the day to highlight her efforts as a way to continue to the dialogue of exposing youth to STEM careers in revolutionizing ways.   Shout out to a few leading ladies in STEM: Jean Fan, Founder of https://custemized.org/. CuSTEMized engages, encourages, and empowers young girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math by providing them with tangible products and educational experiences that foster a positive...

A Lesson from Research: Advocacy

In 2013, the office was abuzz with conversations about the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act. The HOPE Act would have significant implications for our work and was particularly relevant as former President Barack Obama planned to sign it into law a mere two months after I began working.   But despite its landmark significance, I was surprised to find that the HIV+ patient population was unaware of this law. More importantly, HIV+ patients’ willingness to accept HIV+ organs remained unknown. So, we developed a survey to understand patients’ attitudes towards HIV-to-HIV transplantation. Understanding these perspectives is paramount to gauging the level of support for the HIV-to-HIV organ donation program, specifically whether HIV+ patients are willing to accept HIV+ organs.   With the support of the Fulbright Scholarship, I continued this exploration on the knowledge of and attitudes toward HIV-to-HIV transplantation within the HIV+ population at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Consolidating the evidence of countless interviews I had collected from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, I recognized how easily biomedical science could remain within scientific journals without ever translating to the population we had in mind when designing the studies. Research, though valuable and critical, is limited if not accessible to the patients it hoped to benefit.   “Research, though valuable and critical, is limited if not accessible to the patients it hoped...

Is The Need To Feel Productive Taking Over Your Life?

The fact that someone is interested in medicine tells a lot about them. In most cases, it’s safe to assume that they possess a certain degree of self-drive, passion for the human condition, and an urge to prove themselves. However, with this burning fire comes an insatiable need to make the most use of one’s time and a tendency to feel the guilt when that is not the case. Is the Need To Feel Productive Taking Over Your Life? This sense of self-reflection is exacerbated even further as a medical student, a stage where every second counts towards better understanding the basic medical disciplines (and working towards that great board score of course!). I myself will admit being victim to this notion even right now (compelling me to write this article rather than slacking off for an hour or two). However, there are certain steps that you can take to assuage your concerns and obsessions with the need to feel productive. Another way to look at this is by finding ways to make better use of your free time. Laura Vanderkam delves into this very concept in her TED Talk below. For us future physicians, this presents an especially interesting dilemma. Compared to most professions, medicine is one of the few fields demanding a workweek that can quite easily exceed 60 hours. However, at the same time, the concept of...

How Doctors and Nurses Can Work Together

Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy working relationship is often the most difficult thing for some nurses to accomplish in their career. This is usually because we are trained in nursing school to be emotional and empathic to our patient’s needs. For some, this comes more natural, while others really struggle at this.  When it comes to being professional we sometimes tend to react more emotionally then we should. It is unfortunate but lateral aggression, drama, power trips, and attention seeking personalities plague almost every workplace and especially in the healthcare field. As a nurse and particularly as a travel nurse you will run into these personalities everywhere. So let me share with you a few tips on how to fight this kind of behavior, which in turn can help you maintain a healthy working relationship with fellow nurses and physicians. Don’t Be So Emotional! Let me first start off by saying that nurses are emotional. This is not necessarily a bad thing to say considering we need to be in order to be sensitive to our patient’s needs. But reacting emotionally in tense situations and when receiving negative feedback can be a career ender for any nurse. You need to learn when to be emotional and when not to be. Make sense? It’s a tricky and often difficult skill to learn as a nurse. Let’s go over...

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