medschool

Top 10 Tips for Residency Interviews

Jeanne Farnan, MD, from the University of Chicago Internal Medicine Residency Program, knows what she’s talking about when it comes to interviewing. She’s a dedicated faculty interviewer for the Pritzker School of Medicine and is on the internship selection committee for the Department of Medicine. Pay attention to this one!   For more information on Dr. Farnan and the University of Chicago Medical Center, visit...

The World’s Most Sophisticated Algorithm for Choosing a Med Speciality

Decisions, decisions… You’ve spent the majority of your life in school working hard for the big prize: the prestigious two letters after your name, “MD”. But, now that your real life dream is creeping closer, you have to make that difficult decision, what kind of MD? This highly accurate algorithm is for the “almost” MDs who are still clueless and could use some help. Check out more cartoons from Dr. Fizzy here.       Featured image from Flickr / Butte-Silver Bow Public...

Wisdom of the Crowd: Finding the Most Promising Innovations to Teach Value

Earlier this year, we launched the Teaching Value and Choosing Wisely Competition in conjunction with Costs of Care and the ABIM Foundation.  Why a competition?   Not surprisingly, traditional “literature review” yielded little by way of promising strategies for educators who wished to learn how to teach about value.  However, we had all learned of isolated stories of success, occasionally through attending professional meetings, sometimes via networking with colleagues, or more often through just plain word of mouth.  To help bring these stories of success to the fore, we relied on a crowd-sourcing model by launching a competition to engage a larger community of individuals to tell us their story.  Of course, there were moments we wondered if we would get any submissions. Fortunately, we did not have anything to worry about!  In June, we received 74 submissions, from 14 specialties with innovations and bright ideas that targeted both medical students, residents, faculty and inter-professional learners. Reviewing each abstract to determine the most promising practices that could be easily scaled up to other institutions was not an easy task.  One interesting struggle was the inherent trade-off between feasibility and novelty – what was feasible may not have been so novel, while you were left wondering whether the most innovative abstracts would be feasible to implement.  Fortunately, due to the outstanding expert panel of judges, we were able to narrow the field.  While all the submissions were interesting...

7 Pre-Med Tips for Med School … and the Real World

It is 2 AM. You smell like sweat and coffee, but that doesn’t concern you because everyone you’re studying with at this hour does, too. You are leafing through hand-written class notes and the textbook your professor authored all while eating dinner/breakfast/snack courtesy of the vending machine. You look like this more often than not: Your eyes are half-closed and burning, but you can’t stop, won’t stop because you haven’t even reviewed the copies of past exams. You’re pre-med.   I graduated college two years ago, yet the memories of being a student and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study for an exam have not faded. After three too many cups of coffee, I would lose momentum and motivation and often questioned the value of hard work. What was the purpose of being a good student? Why am I working this hard? Now, as a member of the working world, I sincerely appreciate the hard work I put in to each assignment for every class. I earned my stripes. I say this because in the first week of my job, I relied on the basic skills I developed as a conscientious student. These are the skills I think are critically important to master if you want to be wildly successful in the workplace or in the classroom: 1. Deadlines Work is like final exam...

Beginners Guide to TBL Groups

In this rapidly evolving and high-tech world of medicine, it has become imperative for doctors to be able to work in groups due to the increasingly team-based nature of modern healthcare. More specifically, hospitals are now comprised of specialists that have to work together with not only each other, but also a plethora of workers including Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Speech Pathologists, Nurses etc. Because the physician profession has a tendency to attract a medley of strong and unique personalities, we need something that will blunt our edges and allow us to work together with regular people. Abracadabra Team Based Learning: a group exercise designed to simulate team-based problem solving. Now to be honest, TBLs should really be called, ”how to deal with people without hating everybody”, but don’t worry it can be fun; especially if you’re aware of the people you’re going to work with. To help you, I’ve compiled a list of quick, easy, and horribly superficial stereotypes that you can use to judge the people you’re going to be working with. The random fact person. Some people will have little to no productive input into the discussions in TBL, which is actually completely fine, whatever, medical school is tough. However, trying one’s best to be a productive member doesn’t mean it’s cool to go spouting off hundreds of useless facts throughout the discussion. Everybody has already...

The Memory Trick Every Med Student Should Know

Anyone studying medicine knows that there is a ton of information that you need to just buckle down and memorize. Sure, you’ve tried the obvious strategies for remembering tricky facts — like mnemonics or repetition — but sometimes you need more than this basic toolkit to get through the next examination. One solution to this problem comes courtesy of Shiv Gaglani, an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School, who recently wrote for Fast Company about his personal memory trick that has helped him throughout his academic career. Utilizing the principles of association, Gaglani recommends mentally attaching new facts to stories, as they hold more psychological significance than a mere mnemonic. To illustrate the trick, Gaglani explains that he will always remember that one side effect of bleomycin is pulmonary fibrosis because he recalls how then-upstart cyclist Lance Armstrong declined the cancer treatment in 1996 in fear of scarring his lungs. Whenever possible, Gaglani writes, he attempts to marry facts with associations stronger than the average nonsense phrase used by decades of students. And so the idea for Osmosis was born. This side project of Galani’s is a “web-based platform that, among other things, automatically recommends associations” for any topic that a medical student would need to memorize. The online tool is still in the beta phase, but Gaglani writes that he expects it to continue growing. “We’re focusing on...

Tomorrow is My First Med School Interview

Tomorrow is my first med school interview, and I am sh*ting my pants a little. If you’re in med school, you’re probably laughing and reminiscing, taking pleasure in my uneasiness while also sympathizing with me because it was you in my position just a few years ago. If you are applying this year but haven’t yet heard about interviews, please don’t hate me, your time will come. If you’re still a premed, in the early days of intro to bio, cramming over your book, trying with all your might to remember the difference between the xylem and the phloem (mmm…plant bio, so useful…), here’s to there being a light at the end of the tunnel. Cheers. Maybe I’ll have a beer beforehand… So, what have I done to prepare and what is my game plan? 1. Be Honest: I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to speak with a doctor who works for a medical school. He gave me a pointer that I have been repeating to myself all week: “If you are honest, you don’t have to practice. Because you’re speaking the truth.” 2. Be Confident: YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. If you are sitting in the interview chair, the admission committee saw something in you. Whether that be your academics, your MCAT score, your research, your participation on an athletic team, in a...