medschool

What You Should Know About Clerkships

The things I wish I had known about clerkships before third year began are the same as the things I wish I had known about life, but which I’m grateful to have learned the long way. And those things mostly amount to this: Life is about people. I wish there were a less patronizing, less Hallmark way to utter the simplest truth I know, but I’m not sure there is. Many of us have been fortunate enough to live lives untouched by abandonment, disappointment and loss, experiences that all have a way of sharpening our appreciation for the supporting cast of characters that comprise our existence. And so, these lessons often have to be learned vicariously. Throughout third year, we have the opportunity to peer into our patients’ lives through the cracks created by disease. An unexpected diagnosis takes the experience of being alive, turns it upside down and shakes it forcefully, leaving victims riddled with a mixture of uncertainty and hope. The glimpses we catch of this tumultuous experience can be as large or small as we allow them to be, and I challenge you to shed as much light into these spaces as possible. Mr. L was an 85-year-old man who was in good health until a pulmonary embolism threw him off kilter just before Christmas. The relatively minor insult to his lung function unmasked an underlying...

So You Got Accepted To Medical School! Here’s What You Need To Know

So you got accepted to medical school, congrats! You’re probably an excited and pretty damn nervous. What is the first year of medical school like? What should you expect? How hard is the first year of medical school? What are some good tips for the first year of medical school? So many questions – slow down then there. Jokes aside, in this post I will go over my favorite tips for the first year of medical school. Let’s get to it! How Hard is the First Year of Medical School? While medical school is difficult, it’s not as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Yes, doctors and medical students are smart, but this idea is a little misleading. Many students are geniuses – I’m not one of them. Still, I’d consider myself to have above average intelligence and capable to be a good doctor. What makes a medical student into a great doctor is the continual practice and time we put in medical school. Most students would agree that the toughest part of medical school is remaining consistent.  But the actual material in medical school is not much harder than your college classes. So how hard is the first year of medical school? It’s like eating a plate of pancakes! Pancakes? Sign me up! The pancake analogy is my favorite way to describe what the first year of medical school...

Four Medical Schools Are That Redefining Medical Education

When I was reading the news, I noticed several medical schools doing amazing things to change their curriculum and provide more a more progressive experience for its students. I wanted to highlight some of those new developments and shout out a few medical schools for doing a great job. University of Central Florida Medical School started a culinary medicine course as a preventive measure to address the obesity epidemic and other rising metabolic disorders. According to an interview in an article, the intention is to teach medical schools how to counsel patients on nutrition and healthy cooking. The culinary medicine course was launched by Tulane University years ago and UCF College of Medicine is the latest among a group of 40 other medical schools to embrace the innovative course and offer it as a 4-week elective to its medical students. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine put together a panel of experts to talk about the Indigenous communities living around the school. The panel consists of four members of the medical school faculty. The school wishes to be held accountable to the Indigenous Peoples and the communities of the region. According to an article on the event, the panel will review the following: Indigenous leadership, influence and author in the school, cultural safety and cultural and academic support in the learning and working environment of the medical school, and curriculum...

Why I Didn’t Do Primary Care

My first residency was actually in a primary care program so this was obviously a field I was very interested in. But I aborted it. Why? 1) Partially it was a problem with my residency and probably a lot of residencies. Most internists who do primary care spend much of their residencies doing inpatient medicine, out of necessity. My “primary care residency” only different from general IM in that we got one month of primary care per year, which was a mix of clinic and urgent care. Enough to feel comfortable being a PCP? I felt it wasn’t. 2) I didn’t like the idea of having to know everything about everything, especially in a field where things are constantly changing and patients were getting more and more complicated. I felt like I’d have to be reading constantly just to stay current. 3) People would keep coming up with random complaints that I had no idea how to address, like, “My belly button feels cold.” 4) It felt like there was a push to see patients as quickly as possible, yet many of the patients were incredibly complicated. When an elderly patient hands you a bag of 30 bottles of medications and four of them are half-filled bottles of atenolol, just sorting through that alone takes like twenty minutes. I felt like I was being pushed to short-change my patients....

The Top Instagram Profiles Medical Students Should Follow

Being a medical student is one of the most challenging, fascinating, motivating and involving things you’ll ever do. Every day brings new problems to solve, new facts to learn, and new cases to investigate but that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally find yourself lacking a bit of inspiration. However, thanks to the advent of social media, you can not only gain moments of much-needed inspiration from your mobile device, but you can also top up your knowledge while on the go! What are the best practices medical students should follow on social media? Better yet, what are the best Instagram profiles medical students should follow? All over the world, medical institutions and forward-thinking individuals in your field are using Instagram to sow seeds of brilliance across the internet, and the following Instagram accounts aimed directly at medical students are sure to provide real moments of wonder and academic curiosity. These social media accounts are ideal for browsing when on your way to college, sitting on a bus, waiting for a friend at a cafe, or during any other downtime you experience in your busy day. Fun, exciting, and full of surprising facts and unique cases, they can help with your academic performance and problem-solving skills, too. Who’d have thought procrastinating on Instagram could be so useful?  The awesome team at @essentialsofem asked me to make some notes for their...

A List Of Do’s and Don’ts for Your Summer Break

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe more appropriately, at the middle of the tunnel. Your one and only summer break, between first and second year. And to think, this might be your “last” summer. The last one until retirement that you could choose to spend kicking your feet up, watching Netflix, sleeping in, and traveling incessantly. Haven’t you earned it after the most academically rigorous year of your life? The angel on your shoulder chimes in: Look at all this time you’ve got! Time to do research, to get published. Time to make inroads with faculty and participate in community outreach projects and global health initiatives. Time to study undisturbed and set yourself up for second-year success. Only a fool would squander such an opportunity! Surely a compromise must exist…. To put things in perspective, let me give you full disclosure: Like most normal humans, I love having fun, often as much fun as possible. And, like most normal medical professionals, I like succeeding, advancing, and perennially trying to be the best. Can these two forces be reconciled? Yes, they can, as you will find below. Let’s go through some of the DOs and DON’Ts of this rare and magnificent summer break between first and second year: DON’T try to start studying aggressively for Step 1. This coming from a USMLE prep-driven blog? What...

How to Increase Your Chances of a Residency as an International Medical Graduate

Business fields like marketing, HR and finance consider international learning and job experience as a major advantage working in the favor of aspiring candidates, however, this doesn’t hold true in the healthcare industry. If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG), then the chances of reserving a spot in US residency programs is lower than a typical US graduate due to a number of reasons. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot take steps to make a good competitor. The key is to master IMG matching. Here are some clinical residency matching tips for IMGs: Before Applying Formulate strategy and goals Make a practical strategy that is based on facts and statistics. For instance, if you take a really long time to finish the USMLE steps, your chances of getting in an accredited or preferred residency program will go down. High scores will increase your chances of an early match. Choose your specialty and continue building your resume to increase your chances of acceptance. Choose Your Specialty Sensibly What specialty you choose determines if you get an interview or call for a residency match. Some preferred specialties for IMGs based on the historical data include: Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics. Specialties, where your chances are low, are: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anesthesiology, Orthopedic surgery. However, if you have extremely high scores and superb clinical skill sets, you can expect...