medschool

How Alcoholics Anonymous Can Help Doctors Too

Samuel Shem, author of The House of God, explains his motivations for writing a play about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Shem describes the success of his patients that entered the program. The play, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, is currently playing at The Soho Playhouse in New York City. For tickets go...

Identity, Expectations and Choice: Asian Americans on the Premedical Track

Now that I am a college senior, the most pressing question on anyone’s mind seems to be, “What are you planning to do after graduation?” Many people are visibly unsurprised to hear that I have set my sights on medicine. Their eyes thank me for confirmation of what they guessed I would want. From people who know me well, this is a compliment—that if I keep working hard, I might make a good doctor someday—or, if not a compliment, at least a seal of approval, encouragement to fight the long fight in pursuit of my dream. From people who hardly know me, though, I start to wonder how much the Asian American stereotype affects their perception of me and other Asian premeds like me. And for a second, I start to wonder how our stories and our identities, shaped by the assumptions of others, might affect our own self-perceptions. When I told my parents that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, they were supportive, but not too supportive, because they knew how difficult the path would be, and told me they didn’t want to influence my decision-making process. My maternal grandmother, on the other hand, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me. When I asked her why, she said it was because she never had a doctor she really trusted, and she wasn’t getting any younger....

Top 10 Mnemonics to Get You Through Med School

Sometimes even after reading over the same paragraph multiple times, the material just doesn’t stick. These mnemonics will help you effortlessly master important concepts that are high yield on the boards and guarantee your succes. 1) 5 parameters of the HPI (history of present illness): 2) Encapsulated organisms: 3) Inhibitors of Cytochrome P450: 4) To remember that the right lung is tri-lobed and the right side of the heart contains the tricuspid valve while the left lung is bi-lobed and the left side of the heart contains the bicuspid valve: 5) 12 Cranial Nerves (in consecutive order): 6) Branches of the Brachial Plexus: 7) X-linked Immunodeficiencies: 8) Most Common Symptoms and Bacterial Causes of Meningitis: 9) Anterior pituitary hormones: 10) Precursors in neurotransmitter synthesis (steps in order):     Featured image from Flickr / digiart2001 jason.kuffer   Correction: July 19, 2013 An earlier version of this post used incorrect wording for the third cranial nerve. This error has been...

When Treating Chronic Pain Syndrome, Family Matters

Bruce Singer, Psy.D., Program Director, Chronic Pain and Recovery Center, Silver Hill Hospital, evaluates the large social impact of chronic pain syndrome. He urges families to avoid enabling certain behaviors and to be an integral part of chronic pain...

4 Reasons Why You Should… and Shouldn’t Go to Medical School

Why medicine?   This is a question I needed to have a prepared answer to recite to everyone and for every occasion – from professors to parties. It is a simple, but difficult question. It is a complex question. Why am I choosing the longest, hardest, most expensive professional career? Why do I want a career with immense sacrifice? I am giving myself ample time to confidently answer this question. Searching for this answer has not been straightforward. My answer oscillates from a resounding yes to a petrified no. Let’s review the pros and cons together.   Here’s why I vote no:   1) The health care reform was supposed to make things better, but it seems to be getting worse. 2) Doctors are frustrated and on the brink of quitting due to increasing administrative burden. 3) New doctors do not spend more than 8 minutes with their patients. 4) Medical students collect a mountain of debt by the end of their educational training. And yet, medical school applications are still at an all time high. Here’s why I vote yes:   1)    Discovering the complexities of the human body   2)    Comforting another human being 3)  Collaboration and team work   4) Develop meaningful relationships with patients Tell me why you chose medicine (or ran away from it) @sonalkumar2011      ...

Studying Made More Enjoyable: The Art of Brewing Coffee

If you don’t like coffee, you should definitely start trying to. Pulling an all-nighter studying in the library will be much more enjoyable if you don’t want to spit out what’s keeping you alert. If you’re one of those people who prefers energy drinks for a late night studying, you’re doing it all wrong. They’re more expensive, loaded with sugar, and don’t warm your soul like a cup of coffee does. There are ways to acquire a taste for coffee – and it’s not by loading it up with cream and sugar. You must learn the art of brewing the perfect cup to enjoy all that coffee has to offer. And, if you already are a coffee addict, believe it or not, there may be a few tips you’ve missed out on… Buy it and keep it fresh– You never pick out the rotten strawberries at the grocery store so why do it with your coffee beans? Instead of digging through your pantry trying to find the coffee you bought months ago when you made your first attempt to become a coffee connoisseur, go buy fresh beans! To keep them fresh, the beans should be stored in a cool, dark area. If you don’t plan on using them within two weeks, keeping them in the refrigerator will ensure that they stay as fresh as when you bought them. Use...

Picmonic: the Secret to USMLE Success?

Human memory is a fickle thing. How is it that we can remember a line from our favorite movies years later (“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”) yet forget somebody’s name before they are even finished talking? For medical students, memory is an especially frustrating topic. The ultimate memory tests are the USMLE and COMLEX Step 1 board exams, 8-hour long marathon tests taken at the end of the second-year of medical school that cover all the material presented during the first two-years. At 649 pages long, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is considered to be a “condensed” version of the high-yield material tested on the exam. Adding to the stress of the exam, Step 1 scores are considered to be one of the most important factors in selecting candidates for residency interviews. Capitalizing upon, and perhaps worsening, this frustration has been a vast array of board preparation services offered: online courses, review books, and question banks to name a few. And while a 2003 study found no improvement in USMLE scores for those who took a commercial course versus self-study, there are no shortage of options available to students for board prep. One of the newest and fastest growing board prep companies is Picmonic, an Arizona-based start-up founded by two third-year medical students, Adeel Yang and Ron Robertson. Spreading through medical campuses with an impressive word-of-mouth campaign, Picmonic...