medschool

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...

A Day in the Life of a Med Student

A descriptive and mathematically accurate depiction of my happiness (or unhappiness) throughout my day in med school. Another graph needed to depict happiness on vacation as well as unhappiness leading up to...

7 Keys to a Successful All-Nighter

Sleep is a wonderful thing. As we rest our eyes at the end of each day, our levels of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that increases throughout the day making us feel tired, decrease. Our memory enhances. Hormones that correspond to both sleepiness and appetite decrease, helping curb our calorie consumption thus enhancing our ability to maintain a healthy weight. Our stress level decreases. Sleeping well makes us less likely to be depressed and more likely to live a longer life. But as a student, sleep is the enemy. Imagine all that we could learn, all that we could do if only we didn’t have to give up some of each day to sleep! And so, we fight our need to catch some Z’s, and if the need arises and we are determined, we can pull what is notoriously known as an all-nighter. All-nighters aren’t just something you do. It takes preparation and careful planning to survive one and be able to face the coming day. As someone who has pulled more all-nighters than any person ever should, I’d like to share with you my best tips to help you with yours. 1. Cut-out Comfortable Clothes You may be tempted to throw on some baggy sweatpants and a loose shirt for studying all night, but you would be wrong. Those clothes scream, “It’s time to sleep!” And far too often...

How Cord Blood Banking Will Change Medicine

Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, Co-author of The Mommy MD Guides, discusses the limitless possibilities offered by cord blood banking. Regenerative medicine, in particular, is a field with vast potential for stem cell research now that cord blood banking is part of the curriculum for young...

5 First-Hand Survival Tips for First Year Anatomy

Not long ago, my friend Bruce* was a college graduate with fulfilled premed requirements and wavering confidence. After a year of rejections, he decided to seek the help of a friend with experience in medical school admissions. Her advice was simple, medical schools want to know if you have what it takes to maintain a balanced life while hauling academic butt full throttle for four years and beyond. For Bruce, that meant taking extra classes to prepare himself for the rigorous course of study that the first year of medical school requires. He got into Rush Medical College after applying a second time and feels strongly that one of the keys to his success as an M1 was taking Anatomy & Physiology in advance. Luckily for us, Bruce gamely agreed to answer a few questions I posed on what else helped him to ace what students often call the most difficult class of their medical career. Questions and my comments are in bold/italics. 1. What was the best study technique that you found for learning Anatomy? There is no single trick for learning anatomy – the key is studying it with different learning methods from every angle. Introductory anatomy (the kind you take as an undergrad) usually lacks cadaver dissection, so you’ll have to substitute with images, 3D models, and drawing. Also, when you are studying a particular feature...