medschool

5 Precise Techniques to Become the Most Effective Learner Ever

If you’re like me, you probably study by going through your notes or powerpoints, perhaps rewriting your notes, but basically making sure that you can regurgitate the information that you are given. You may take practice tests and do well, but then get to the actual test and not do as well as you hoped. You blame it on the questions being of a different caliber than those on the practice test and so you didn’t prepare for that style of questions. You tell yourself that you’ll just study with more brute force next time. You’ll go through the lectures more times, you’ll write out your notes again, and you’ll hopefully do better. But then that doesn’t always happen. What we know about the world is exponentially growing, and it is difficult impossible to keep up. Looking at the sheer volume that we must learn as students can be overwhelming and discouraging. It makes us question whether we are cut out for this path. We live a stressful life of lectures, study groups, and examinations. And yet, there is one area that we tend to overlook that is essential for our success – how to effectively study. The American Medical Student Association recently held a webinar on how to be an effective learner in medical school featuring Jay Phelan from UCLA who helped develop PrepU, a website that creates...

Aunt Hilda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch Discusses OAB

Caroline Rhea, comedian/activist, and Elizabeth R. Mueller, MD, discuss the latest treatments for overactive bladder including oral medications and sacral nerve stimulation. They urge physicians to consider botulinum toxin, which has been shown in studies to treat overactive bladder for up to 6 months, and can be administered as a single shot in the...

What Are We Losing By Not Taking a Social History?

As I am on service, I realized that one thing that can be easily lost in the race to take care of patients with limited duty hours – the social history.  The social history is part of the admission “history and physical” that once included a myriad of information about the patient’s job, life, and habits has now “fallen into despair” becoming little more than “negative for TED”, or in other words “no tobacco, alcohol (ethanol) or drugs.” But, there is so much more to it than that.   How do they afford to pay for their housing, food, and medications?  Do they have insurance?   Where do they live?  Who takes care of them or do they take care of someone else?  Do they have friends or family living nearby?   What do they like to do for fun?  Given that most of the ‘discharge planning’ focuses on these elements of the social history, it seems silly that we don’t include more than just no TED. So, when I was asked by a very astute medical student if I preferred to hear more in the social history, I said yes.   The information that is usually discussed as the patient gets better and we wonder where they will go was now presented on admission, discussed as a problem just like any other medical problem.   In just a few short days, we discerned that a...

Top 10 Ways To Prevent Mistakes When Using Ultrasound

10.  Do not forget to plug in the machine and learn to power on the machine BEFORE you go into the patient’s room.  You don’t want to look like an idiot searching all over for the power button on the machine while the patient is waiting for you to start the scan. 9.  Make sure the probes are clean and the cords are untangled before you walk into the patient’s room.  You don’t want to waste time detangling cords or cleaning off blood and gel in front of the patient. 8.  Warm the gel bottle before you lather up the patient with it.  If you don’t have a gel warmer, you can place the bottle in a hot water bath (eg. Basin filled with hot tap water).  Just make sure you warn the patient that the gel will be cold.  Apologize profusely and help clean up the gel afterwards. 7.  Don’t push harder on the probe to try to improve your image.  Getting the probe closer to the target organ doesn’t give you a better image.  Add some extra gel, change your angle, and redirect your ultrasound beams to maximize image quality. 6.  Turning up the gain may make your picture brighter, but it will wash out some of the important detail.  You will want to see the difference in contrast between the various structures (e.g. liver and kidney...

12 Important Tips for Your Residency Applications and Interviews

As I wrap up residency interview season, in between the delayed flights and using spotty wi-fi at questionably clean hotels, I thought it’d be helpful to assemble a list of tips for future applicants. These are things that I wish I would have known or things that I underestimated the importance of. Hopefully, this will help others traveling the country in their freshly pressed suits in pursuit of a place to call home for the next few years of training. 1. Know answers to common canned questions What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why do you want to come to our program? What are you looking for in a program? Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your research. Tell me about _____ volunteer experience.  These all came up repeatedly during my interviews. 2. Google yourself to see what comes up Now is the time to limit your Twitter candor and make those bachelorette party, body-shot doing Facebook albums private. According to some Google analytics results, multiple programs throughout the season searched me in the days leading up to my interviews. I even had someone Google me less than 5 minutes after leaving a program. It happens. Make sure nothing reputation-damaging shows up. Luckily, my life happens to be pretty boring and all you’ll find on my social media pages are photos of my dog, Instagram food shots,...

The 4 “T”s for Transforming Medical Education

A while back, I was able to reflect on the always jam-packed and inspiring Association of American Medical Colleges 2011 Meeting that took place in Denver.  The theme of the meeting was transformation.  It was certainly an interesting theme with the undertones of economic recession and the GME funding crisis- and that was before the failure of the Supercommittee to reach a resolution. So how does medical education need to transform?  In more ways than one, it turns out.  So here are just 4, and being a fan of alliteration, they all begin with “T”. • Trust – it’s clear that we need to restore the American peoples’ trust in physicians and in the medical education process.  While students enter medicine to make a difference, something that they see in their journey to becoming a physician makes them jaded and they sometimes lose sight of their initial intention. Is it debt, burnout, role models…Or likely some combination of the 3? It does not matter, because we have to restore their faith in teaching– yes teaching.  Teaching is the heart and soul of our medical education and it is sometimes the easiest to lose in an academic health center focused on NIH dollars or US news world report rankings.  In addition to teaching our students, it is time to teach another constituency, our patients and Congress about the critical need for medical...

How One Student’s Notes Became the ‘Wikipedia of Medicine’

Since many medical schools have switched to the pass/fail system, students have become much more comfortable sharing notes. Med students, attempting to convey enthusiasm and sense of camaraderie amongst their class, tell visiting applicants “we have a Facebook group where everyone puts up review sheets, helpful websites, etc…there is a real sense of trying to help one another because no one is telling us that in order for you to do well, your friend has to do badly….below the curve, at least.” For one student at Manchester University, at the Royal Bolton Hospital, sharing notes went far beyond uploading his 5,000 page Microsoft Word document. Tom Leach, now a junior doctor in Australia, had the best notes around in med school — and his friends knew it. He tells The Times of India, “One day I went into the library and there was a queue for the photocopier where people were copying my notes.” His notes were so clear and accurate that Leach decided to put them online and in just a few years it developed into so much more. Leach describes his site, AlmostADoctor.com (cool name…) as “The Wikipedia of medicine with doctors as editors to verify the content” but a closer look shows that the site offers much more. With tabs for Notes, Blogs, Flashcards and Reviews in several fields of medicine, there is not much more an aspiring...