medschool

Preventing Burnout in Medical Students

By Janet Taylor Image: Source Medical school is an incredibly stressful endeavor with high stress levels and burnout among even first year students. The psychologist Herbert Freudenberge brought the term burnout to light in 1974 and describes it as “the loss of motivation, growing sense of emotional depletion, and cynicism” (Michel, 2016).   Students may prepare for the transition from undergraduate or graduate studies, but many find that the massive amount of material is difficult to take in in such a short time while the demand for success is always lingering. This leads to frustration, feeling incompetent and emotional exhaustion.   The problem here is that not being able to get a handle on these issues will have a psychological, social and emotional impact both short and long term. Personal relationships and physical health may suffer, as well as academics initially, but in the long term, patient care will also be affected.   Also, continuously stressed students run the risk of reworking the wiring of their brains, stressing the heart and jacking up their neuroendocrine systems. The Maslach Burnout Inventory is a tool used to measure burnout risk. As many as twenty percent of clinical year students in a study by Bugaj et al. ranked high enough to be marked at risk for burnout. “The scale evaluates burnout based on three key stress responses: an overwhelming sense of exhaustion,...

How to Get Into Medical School If You’re White or Asian

Recently, we heard someone complain that “Asians don’t get into medical school anymore.” That’s quite a loaded statement, but it’s (somewhat) supported by statistics.   Asians definitely still get into medical school nowadays, but according to 2015 medical school admissions data, they do appear to be at a disadvantage.   The 10 Biggest Myths About Getting into Medical School     What Do These Statistics Show About Medical School? With average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and average MCAT scores (27 to 29), black applicants were almost 4 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians in that applicant pool (81.2% vs. 20.6%), and 2.8 times more likely than white applicants (81.2% vs. 29.0%).   1) Likewise, Hispanic applicants with average GPAs and MCAT scores were more than twice as likely as whites in that pool to be admitted (59.5% vs. 29.0%), and nearly three times more likely than Asians (59.5% vs. 20.6%).   2) Overall, black (81.2%) and Hispanic (59.5%) applicants with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were accepted to US medical schools for the 2015-2016 academic year at rates (81.2% and 59.5% respectively) much higher than the 30.6% average acceptance rate for all students in that pool.   3) As the average GPAs and MCATs drop, the same trend continues, with acceptance rates for blacks and Hispanics being much higher than whites and Asians....

Stem Cells Used to Successfully Treat Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an autosomal recessive disease caused by a single genetic mutation of the beta-globulin chain of hemoglobin. Sickle cell disease occurs when one receives a mutation of both beta-globulin genes. Normally, this position contains glutamic acid and the mutation results in a substitution of valine instead. The issue is that valine is hydrophobic, which will cause the red blood cells to polymerize when deoxygenated, take on a sickled shape and be sticky. This leads to anemia, vaso-occlusion, intervals of severe pain, organ failure and even death.   Image: Source   Other than hospital admission and pain control, the treatment for this disease is an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The concerns arising from this technique, however, include lack of accurate donor matches and transplant rejection. A second option is autologous gene therapy, which would correct the patient’s own genes with the hopes that the reinfused cells would promote correct erythrocyte function.   Zinc finger endonucleases have been investigated for gene correction for this disease, as they are able to target specific genomic sites for modification. The hope is that a break in DNA will occur and a matched donor’s normal segment of the beta-globin, coupled to the endonuclease, will replace the mutation and force the production of adult beta-globin. Studies have shown that correction can be completed focused on this specific target area and in bone...

Finals Countdown by Amateur Transplants

By The Doctor’s Channel An excellent study guide for all medical students with finals coming up…   Take a bite from the adult’s table. The Doctor’s Channel is the world’s leading video site for physicians. Featuring the latest news in clinical medicine, disease resource centers, CME programs, and Doc Life (all in under 3 mins or less), it has been called “the educational youtube for docs”. ...

You Won’t Believe the Amount of Pages You’ll Need to Write for Medical School

“I want this to be perfect.”   Every year, we hear pre-med students say this about their medical school personal statements. And we don’t blame them. The personal statement is the largest essay of the primary application, and it certainly carries a lot of weight.   But consider this: did you know that medical schools will read your work and activities section first? Yep. That means three 1325-character most meaningful essays, along with up to 15 activity descriptions (700 characters each), all before they even glance at your personal statement. Let’s do some quick calculations, shall we?     Personal Statement 5300 characters with spaces 500 words 1.5 pages single spaced   Most Meaningful Essays 3975 characters with spaces (1325 x 3) 375 words 1.13 pages single spaced   Activity Descriptions 10500 characters with spaces (700 x 15) 991 words 2.97 pages single spaced   Total Work and Activities 14475 characters with spaces 1364 words 4.1 pages single spaced   Even if you only have, let’s say, eight 700-character descriptions (as opposed to the full 15), the work and activities section is still nearly twice as long as the personal statement.   So, your perfectionism and anxiety surrounding the personal statement can be detrimental if it stifles your progress on other essays. In a way, your personal statement is like the headliner at a music festival. Sure, it’s a...

Medical Shows To Remember #10: The Knick

I have to say – this show is turning into my new TV romance. The Knick depicts a story about the workings of surgeons when surgery was a young art, unexplored and untouched. In a time when factors such as racism, abortion, and various cultural influences were widespread, some physicians like Dr. John Thackeray trudged on fearlessly, experimenting with the human body and forging new frontiers in the field of surgery.     Just as depicted in my last collection of articles on medicine in the realm of big screen cinema, television is likewise marked by a wide variety of showings that bring forth the novelty as well as uniqueness of the medical field. While many of us are familiar with a good majority of these shows, some are not so well known (yet still reflect key aspects of medicine worth pondering).   Over the course of 10 articles, I will be presenting you all with some clips from some of the most famous as well as artistically fascinating shows in television history. Fondly reminisce the ones you have come across (and binge watched several times) while starting to get your summer list together for the new ones (that you now just have to watch)!   10. The Knick     Video: Source Featured Image:...

So, You Want To Be A Research Clinician?

  Stay Current To be competitive in the medical research arena, it’s essential to keep up to date with the current research. Read as much as you can about current research that is coming out, not just in your own field of interest, but also in breaking medical and technology news. Use these strategies from The Almost Doctor’s Channel’s guide to Staying Up to Date on Research in Your Field to keep the news and information flowing straight to your newsfeed.   Publish or Perish Start writing now. Write Letters to the Editors of peer-reviewed journals if you read something that piqued your interest. Get involved in student publications or online blogs. You can even send emails to authors whose research you’re interested in, as this information is often published along with their work. Getting your name out there, and having it show up on a Google search, will prove that you are not only dedicated to medicine, but that you’re able to write about it too.   Cultivate Mentors and Collaborators Make connections with everyone around you. Attend Office Hours, meet with your advisors and find out the special interests of not just your professors, but their RAs and TAs too. Connect with your peers. While medical school can, at times, be ultra-competitive, someday you will all be doctors and you never know who might end up in...