medschool

Reddit Users Weigh In: What To Do During Your ‘Last Summer’

First year is coming to a close and it’s hard to believe you’ve already finished 1/2 of your pre-clinical time. It was harder than you could have possible imagined but now approaches glorious, beautiful summer. Since you’ve been on the med-track since 6th grade, you can’t remember the last time your summer wasn’t devoted to strengthening your resume. So now that you have one last shot at it, what should you do? Reddit users speak up… 1.” Two friends and I got a summer internship at a few family practice clinics: They were federally qualified health centers. We got nearly $5k in stipends/scholarships to show up to the clinic for 4 days a week and do some weekend community projects occasionally. Best part was they paid for a 2/2 about a block away from a huge beach/tourist area in Florida. So naturally, after a half day at work Thursday, we would walk to the beach with a case of beer in hand. Rinse and repeat all weekend. Throw in happy hour/ladies night on the weekend at a local bar, and that would make for a tough recovery come Sunday. My MS1 summer consisted of a lot of beer, beach, working out, hanging with friends, and some learning in an outpatient rural clinic. It was the best summer of my life.”   2. “Just take the summer off. Go to a beach, take a sweet...

Is It More Difficult to Treat Real or Fake Patients?

When I was studying for the internal medicine recertification exam where I was doing countless MKSAP questions which present the diagnostic and management conundrums of “fake patients” , each morning,  I was also rounding on a busy inpatient general medicine service in an academic hospital seeing real patients.  While there are a variety of things I could say about the process, one thing is clear- the real patients don’t ever come as neatly wrapped and easy to figure out as the pithy and succinct questions based on fake patients in the prep questions!   Perhaps the most distinct differences are that real patients suffer from real problems that plague real people…and that is of course why one of the most important lessons for our medical students is that being a good doctor is more than just how well you do on a standardized exam.  It is knowing how to mobilize a team and resources to tend to all of these problems in the same patient.   Here are just a few ways in which the real patients we see differ from testable “patients.” • Social problems trump medical problems – Many of the patients we see suffer from poor health literacy, lack of insurance, access to safe housing, affordable healthy food, and access to healthcare outside of the hospital that prevents optimal care and treatment of their medical conditions.  Understanding how to...

Da Vinci Robot Arm: Never Touch a Patient Again! (Parody)

Ever tried using one of those Da Vinci Robot simulators that are supposed to prepare surgeons for using the real thing? Did you feel like a paralyzed infant with zero depth perception? I did! Students from the University of Alabama College of Medicine got really creative at their skit night and put together this hilarious parody. Worth the...

3 Words that Medical School Will Make You Hate

1) Empathy When it comes to choosing medical students, medical schools begin by selecting specifically from the highest performing students, then proceed to determine which among these individuals actually care about people. What factors do admissions teams care about the most? Grades and test scores. This makes sense considering medical school is cognitively demanding and these objective measures allow for an easy way to cut through the massive number of medical school applications. Especially given that, despite all the good things that can be said about volunteering, the motives behind volunteering and helping others are subjective. (For instance, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the vast majority of volunteering done by medical students is done primarily to get into medical school.) However, when one takes the time to actually think about the personality traits often required for the pursuit of high grades; such as competitiveness, status seeking, neuroticism and possibly narcissism, it’s easy to understand how the doctor profession has a problem with empathy. So the question Medical Schools constantly face is what to do with a bunch of highly competitive applicants that may or may not be empathetic. Apparently steps 1 through 3 involve taking a ridiculous amount of time teaching medical students how to be empathetic. As a medical student you are going to hear more about empathy than you thought possible. You will be...

5 Tips for Surviving Gross Anatomy

1. Understand anatomy is a relationship-driven class. The biggest struggle for me to overcome in anatomy was grasping how it differed so much from any class I took in college. Whereas biochemistry, microbiology, and genetics were driven by concepts and pathways, anatomy is based on relationship and positions in space. Successful students understand anatomy is one of the rare classes that exists in three dimensions and gear their studying accordingly. 2. Engage in group review. With study guides, mnemonics, and other study strategies that I would have never thought of, my classmates played a large role in my understanding of anatomy. Two particularly helpful strategies we used in groups were crowd-sourcing large study guides in Google docs and engaging in questions and answer review sessions. 3. Come prepared to lab. Anatomy lab can take up to two-four hours two to three time a week, which represents a good-chunk of time you could be studying on your own. Coming prepared to lab with notes, handouts, or practice questions can help you make the most out of these precious hours rather than standing around and waiting for lab to be over. 4. Experiment with different learning resources. In terms of Anatomy atlases, Netter’s, Thieme’s, and Lipincott’s were the three that provided the best illustrations for studying. Your school’s library should have copies of all three on reserve, and I would recommend experimenting with all three before deciding which one...

You’re Graduating Medical School…But Are You Prepared for Residency?

This morning as I was brushing up on my medical news I came across an article in The New York Times’ Well blog entitled, “Are Med School Grads Prepared to Practice Medicine?” As an entering medical student of the Class of 2018 I was immediately drawn to the piece. Is it possible that I will spend the next 4 years of my life buried in books, engrossed by education, surrounded by patients and established physicians and still not be ready for residency? Oh god… The author of the article, Pauline Chen, M.D., recalls a specific occurrence that took place during her intern year. A fellow intern, who attended a school apparently uninterested in teaching phlebotomy, had spent nearly an hour poking and prodding a patient, attempting to find a vein. The patient, as one can imagine, was not thrilled, yelling, “I’ll hit you if you come near me again!” Another intern was able to help and perform the phlebotomy flawlessly, but admitted to being unprepared to prep a patient for surgery. The problem, thus, is the differential focus of medical schools in educating their students. While one school flawlessly prepares their students on oral presentation of a patient, another emphasizes careful reading of images. The discrepancies are unforgivable and highlight an even more important issue than lack of surgical skill: lack of communication. Instead of working as parts of a seamless and...

The 5 F’s for Almost Docs and New Interns

A little ways back, a tweet caught my attention from @JasonYoungMD who stated “My Five Foundations of Feeling Fine: Food, Fitness, Friends & Family, Falling Asleep, Fulfillment.” This seemed like the best advice I had heard for the newbie interns taking teaching hospitals by storm as well as the rising third year medical students who are about to be unleashed on the wards (if they haven’t already). It also is a great starting point for program directors who are wondering how to ensure that their residents are “Fit for duty” according to the ACGME rules. 1. Food – While this is basic part of sustenance, finding food sometimes in the hospital can be challenging, especially at odd hours. Fortunately, this has gotten better, but the choices may not be healthier. In my own hospital, I’ve seen the front lobby transform from a small coffee kiosk (Java Coast which was celebrated when it arrived) to a full fledged Au Bon Pain (ABP as we affectionately refer to it). While ABP was a welcome addition, it is easy to consume a lot of empty calories eating muffins or breakfast sandwiches! To make matters worse, research from one of our very own sleep research gurus has shown that the more sleep deprived you are, the worse food choices you make! Therefore, the thing you will reach for after a night shift is...