medschool

Why I Almost Didn’t Do PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)

I’ve been doing this series for a while and somebody requested I do one for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Considering I did PM&R, it’s hard to write a post about why I didn’t do it. But then again, I matched in another field initially, so I could explain my original thinking process. I did a rotation in PM&R during October of my fourth year, which was just a little too late. I liked it a lot. I liked the pace, I liked the types of patients, I liked the procedures, and I thought all the attendings were really nice and laid back. I noticed the residents got to go home when they were on call and worked very reasonable hours. Again, it was mostly about location for me. There was only ONE PM&R program in the area where I wanted to live to be near my husband, so that limited my choices significantly. And even if I matched at that program, I was worried about finding a prelim spot in that region. But here are a few other reasons why I initially decided against Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I am basing this on an actual pro/con list that I made during my fourth year: 1) Can be kind of boring, at least on the inpatient side. On inpatient rehab, things move slowly and there’s a lot of documentation involved....

6 Reasons Why You Love Your Friends From College

1. You can’t give up your friends from college because you have no idea where to make new ones Saying goodbye to your high school friends is made significantly easier by the fact that you know you’re about to make a bunch more. There might be some slight trepidation about meeting new people, but it’s quickly set aside when you start making friends in your dorm and classes and the youthful offenders program a court mandates you to enter when you get your first underage drinking violation. Post-college life has no such safety net – making friends in real life is freaking hard. The people at your job may be twice your age, busy raising a family, and spend Happy Hour complaining about the herniated disc in their lower back. Soon enough you’re on the verge of becoming one of those lonely movie characters that picks up a hooker and pays her “just to talk.” 2. You’re not bonding over *NYSNC and the NWO I made most of my hometown friends during middle school. The year was 2000, I was 13, and the cultural landscape was very, very bleak. We young men, wallets secured safely to our pants by totally kickass chains, wound up devising friendships over our love of Limp Bizkit, pro wrestling, and dial-up internet porn. I’m still close with some of those pubescent pals whose interests evolved...

Four Tips For The Best Secondary Application

‘Tis the season for secondaries! Now that you’ve got the attention of the admissions committee with a stellar primary application, the secondary application is the prime opportunity to let yourself shine. Some schools send their secondary questions to every applicant, while others are more selective. In any case, crafting a meaningful answer to the questions would be in your best interest if you’re looking to gain admission to medical school. Follow the rules. Although secondary essays are shorter than the main AMCAS application, they are significantly harder. Take the time to actually read any instructions and be mindful of the word count for each question. Keep in mind the word count is not optional; 101 words is not the same as 100 words. Another common mistake is not actually answering the question being asked. If a school asks how you work well with others, you should not answer that with an anecdote showcasing your leadership qualities. Another thing that is important is to keep track of the schools you’re writing for and adhere to their specific requirements. If you have a question, email or call the school and do not make your own assumptions. Also, do not copy and paste what you’ve written before either from the primary application or secondary application for another school, even if you’re applying to MD and DO programs. If you’re finding yourself doing...

6 Books for Future Doctors to Read, Part 2

Medical students and aspiring health professionals may already read their fair share of literature, but check out these books for future doctors. Click here to check out Part 1! “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones The opioid epidemic is perhaps our greatest public health crisis. To put this in perspective, overdoses claim more lives in the U.S. annually than car accidents. As a doctor, you’ll very likely see patients who are struggling with addiction. In “Dreamland,” Sam Quinones humanizes these patients by depicting how powerful opioids lay claim on our nervous systems. Quinones also delves deep into the forces that have driven the epidemic, including pharmaceutical companies’ heavy reliance on barebones research to support the widespread usage of pain meds. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi Paul Kalanithi was an accomplished neurosurgery resident, well on his way to becoming a prominent surgeon-researcher. But, his life plans completely changed when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. In “When Breath Becomes Air,” Kalanithi examines the meaning of life when on the brink of death. Although Kalanithi passed away in 2015, his memory lives on with his beautifully written, insightful memoir. “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” by Henry Marsh In “Do No Harm,” Henry Marsh talks about his life as a neurosurgeon. Aspiring doctors will learn a ton from...

Tips for Medical Students: How to Make Money While You Study

Being a medical student comes as a very expensive cost and it can leave students with no extra money to spend on things they enjoy. Then of course you have to deal with the enormous amount of work that comes with medical school, which leaves you with very little free time. With all that being said, there is a way for you to make some extra cash while completing your studies. Many students live away from home during their studies which can make life even more unaffordable. You simply have to find the options that work for you and your schedule. Here are some ways you can make money while being a medical student. Writing As a medical student you are going to learn a lot of valuable information that can be shared with the rest of the world. You can do freelance writing for a medical blog or website and be a guest contributor. If the blog is high end, you can earn a significant amount of money per article. The great thing about this is that you can fit it into your schedule and write when you have some extra time. All you have to do generally is meet the deadline and you got some money in your pocket. Just be careful not to waste too much of your time writing for blogs that pay you next...

My First Patient Death: From Admission to Expiration

As a medical student, we’re “taught” how to act when during patient death: how to actually perform the necessary exams, how we are supposed to treat the deceased and, to a much smaller degree, how to interact with the loved ones. I went through this. I saw my share of patients who died during my rotations. This story is in that vein, but unlike all the ones I “treated” as a medical student, this patient is the one I claim as my first death. He was mine from evaluation in the ER, to care in the ICU, to the end. So here goes… “Time of death, sixteen hundred.” It’s such an easy statement to make, 5 short words, but, in the understatement of all understatements, that simplicity belied the enormity of the situation. He was 47. He spent his last ten days in the ICU, most of that heavily medicated and intubated. When were finally given permission to initiate comfort measures, he lasted ten hours. I remember getting paged down to the ER from the call rooms. My PGY-3 and I were having a normal call night, 8 admissions, 2 deaths, so we knew this would be something “good.” As was my privilege being the intern (and with no medical student), I was the first at bedside and I remember thinking “This guy is sick as sh*t.” Pick a...

Why I Didn’t Do Pediatrics

I love kids. In college, my advisor was a pediatrician, because I thought that’s what I wanted to be. When I was in medical school, I was the co-President of the pediatric club. During third year, I scheduled pediatrics to be my third rotation because that’s the order in which you’re supposed to do the field that you’re interested in. (You don’t want to do it too early because then you’ll look like an idiot, but not too late in case you hate it and change your mind.) I’m not a pediatrician. So what happened? Here’s why I decided against pediatrics: 1) I spent my whole damn rotation sick with URIs and GI bugs. 2) Really sick kids make me desperately sad, to the point where even doing a practice question about a child with cancer ruined my whole day. 3) I am really, really bad at looking in screaming baby ears. And that’s like half of what pediatricians do. 4) I found medicine involving non-sick kids to be really boring. Strep throat? Boring. Rashes? Boring. Otitis media? Boring. 5) Parents = mega aggravating. (Of course, now I deal with adult children, which are also mega aggravating.) 6) When I saw a cute baby, I mostly just wanted to play with the baby, kiss him all over his cute little pudgy face, and then go home and make lots...