medschool

Burn-Out in Medical Education is Real

Burn-out can affect physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals, so don’t be surprised if it affects medical students as well. According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, 50% of students experience burn-out. Just as important as learning to make a sound treatment plan for a medically complex patient are crucial skills developed as a student doctor, learning to prevent or manage burn-out in medicine is also an equally important skill. According to the AAMC, burn-out is defined by three indicators: emotional exhaustion associated with work-related stress, feelings of detachment toward patients, and low sense of personal accomplishment. Stress is the number one cause of burn-out among students and doctors. Learn to manage high stress levels early on in the first year of medical training is ideal, so figure out what your personal triggers for feelings of exhaustion and burn-out are key. You can’t avoid stress in this profession, but you can certainly recognize the signs and manage them to the best of your ability. As far as being a mentally and emotionally medical students, you have to look out for yourself and protect yourself because no one is going to help you with this aspect of the training. Medical education can be dehumanizing and can disrupt the image of your self-worth.  Rarely is there support and encouragement from faculty and administration to take care of your...

What It’s Like as a Student in Your Thirties

Primarily most of us are medical students, mostly from different backgrounds, so it’s not surprising to be a student in your thirties when you’re in medical school. As a non-traditional student, and unlike a student on the traditional pre-medical track, I had the opportunity to explore other professions before entering the one I’m currently on. Post-baccalaureate programs make it easy to become a doctor without having a science education. In fact, I would highly encourage any student who is considering a post-baccalaureate program to pursue it. Looking back on my journey, I am convinced that taking time to pursue other interests and potential careers was incredibly worth it. Not only does your background enhance  your admissions interview, but it makes you a person with more depth. You’ll never regret the time you took off, but will always regret not taking any time off. I am amazed at students who decide to pursue combined or accelerated programs. Personally, that wasn’t the best choice for me. When I agree with my classmates about taking more time to discover whether this profession is the right fit, they remind me that I did have time to think about my options.  The truth is no matter how good your application essay and how convinced you think you sound about becoming a doctor, you truly don’t know what it is like unless and until you...

The Best And Most Consistent Method of Writing Notes

Do you ever get stressed out when you’re told to have your progress notes ready by a certain time? Do you ever spend more than 30 to 45 minutes doing your notes? Do you not know what to add and sometimes add too much? What’s a consistent method of writing notes in medical school anyway? In this post, I will go over a step-by-step approach to writing notes in medical school. This will be a technique that you can use every morning to not only have your notes in but to do them well. Develop a Structure Before You Begin Your Notes: I’m assuming we’re referring to writing notes on our patients before rounds. If you’re in clinic then the approach is similar. The first thing I do in the morning is to have a structured way of collecting overnight data. I open my progress note template. The template is something I’ve precreated and seperates my note into the typical SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment/Plan) format. Since I have a template I can just type in overnight events, new vitals, the physical exam that day, and the plan for the day. First I read the notes since my last progress note. I pay attention to any major events, new symptoms, or specialist recommendations in the subjective portion of my note. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling right now. We’ll make final...

10 Tips for Surviving Your First Clinical Rotation

Having just finished the first 6 weeks of my Intern year of Residency, I’ve become more reflective than ever. I can’t emphasize enough how different medicine is from what I had imagined it to be in the first two years of medical school preparing for my exams and my first clinical rotation, in both great ways and sometimes less than great ways. Beginning in a new hospital system in a new role these days opened the floodgates to the memories of how terrifying it was to begin in the hospital in my third year of medical school. I remember only knowing one route to the Emergency Department (no matter how long it was) and only taking that route because if I didn’t, I would get lost. I remember not knowing acronyms, workflow, the electronic medical record system, or even my role in this whole system. Did I mention the goofy short white coat…? In retrospect, some of these memories are HILARIOUS, but if I take a second to think about how terrified I was, I get anxiety all over again about starting my first rotation of third year of medical school. So, if you are about to begin or are already drowning in your first rotation of third year, take a seat, get your game face on and let’s talk about how to simply survive. 1. Find yourself. You may...

Can Google Replace A Medical Degree?

Patients are becoming more aware courtesy of the internet, as different forms of media and information continues to get pushed out, especially to us students and aspiring healthcare professionals. These days, it is uncommon for patients to bring their list of diagnosis and preferred medications to their medical visit. The internet can be a powerful tool, but also a dangerous one given the breadth and depth of false information. Can Google replace the importance of a medical degree? Despite its intelligence, it can’t replace it, nor can certain blogs  replace the importance of certain medical journals. I wanted to be a health journalist more than I wanted to be a doctor because I love story-telling. But, one of the reasons I decided to pursue medical training was because I did not want to be just another writer who writes about patient care, with no actual medical knowledge or training. There are only a handful of journalists in this niche media market who write for prestigious publications, but, ultimately, years of writing experience do not replace the credentials of a four year medical degree. Writing stories about actual patients who you have treated at the bedside/chairside is a more authentic representation of healthcare. As someone with background in both journalism and medicine, it is easy for me to differentiate between a reliable source from another. How do you know that the...

Here’s How A Social Media Medical Community Can Help You Through School

I didn’t know much about MD/PhD programs as an undergraduate. I found some resources online and met with the program director at my school, but I didn’t really have easy access to any current MD/PhD students to go to for advice as I was preparing to apply to medical school. I also didn’t know many pre-meds or join any pre-med clubs. I hadn’t planned on going to medical school until late into undergrad, so I didn’t have a supportive group that would be going through the same grueling process that I was about to undertake. Therefore, I went to social media to find my community. The summer I applied to medical school, I made a Twitter account specifically for connecting with the medical community. Twitter was an ideal platform for this purpose because of the short character limits for posts, the ability to make public posts and follow others who do not necessarily have to follow you back, the easy ability to retweet (or share) another account’s post on your own timeline, hashtags to connect posts to those of related content, and handles that allow you to establish your identity while also maintaining anonymity if desired (for example, I started being known as only pre-MD/PhD Life). While other social media sites have incorporated some of these aspects, Twitter remains the best site I’ve found for a robust discussion within...

How To Renew Your Love For Medicine By Being Like A Kid

On a recent outreach trip to a public school, I spent the morning with children in the 3rd grade. I was the one who was supposed to give a presentation and teach them about healthy habits and routines. Instead, I learned from a classroom full of 9 year olds. As we get older, we tend to lose the vibrancy and enthusiasm for life that is characteristic of childhood. As soon as we experience a hint of stress, adults become bland. We lose zest and zeal for living. These are some of the small things I noticed in the classroom that served as necessary reminders for me in order to renew your love for medicine: Speak your mind During the presentation, I could not help but notice some kids interrupting to give their opinion. They really did not care if they were called on. Few actually raised their hand and waited their turn. The beauty of this was noticing that children value their opinion enough to blurt it out loud. They demand to be heard. Never once did the kids think that someone was judging their comments, or did they fear voicing their opinion.  I think this is something adults should embrace more. Often, we are too scared to share our opinion and fear judgement from others. This is especially pertinent in the class when we are too to ask...