medschool

Tweet Your Way to Med School

When I first told my former journalism teacher that I was planning on applying to medical school, he immediately advised me to start a blog to document my experience as a non-traditional applicant. His suggestion is one that is becoming more and more common for pre-med students looking to open up a dialogue about the struggles of preparing to apply to medical school. Shortly after beginning journalistdoingscience.blogspot.com, I realized that starting a blog was an amazing way to connect with the medical community. Then, after a few months of blogging, I began a Twitter account that connected to my blog and enabled me to share my posts and find others with similar interests to mine (pediatrics, infectious diseases, medical research). Through Twitter I have been able to “meet” an amazing number of people, organizations, and educational institutions that have been helpful, influential, and supportive. There are physicians who are more than willing to offer advice, other pre-med students who can offer you a shoulder to lean on and informational resources such as the AMCAS Twitter for when you have a question about your application. Also, there are many Facebook groups for hospitals, individual doctors or research institutions that offer advice ranging from what to wear on interview day to how to treat the common cold. On my blog I’ve received feedback from people who I wouldn’t have been able...

Calling All PreMeds: The Key to Med School is EMS

This past summer I took an EMS class in New Jersey and gained my state and national certification as an EMT-B provider. Though I’m not a practicing EMT just yet, I hope to become an EMT for the squad my university runs this year. From my class alone and friends who are already EMTs, I’ve gathered that becoming an EMT (or even at least taking the class) may be one of the best ideas for premeds yet. So, I present my top five reasons for this:   1. Build a Foundation in Medicine Here’s a confession: as an undergrad, so far I haven’t really learned much of anything about medicine from my pre-med classes. Sure, they say that learning about electromagnetism and plant biology teaches you how to think like a doctor and prepare for medical school, but how come there’s only one semester of relevant biology actually required to be a pre-med? Yes, medicine is definitely much more than biology, but how come the only way I could take an anatomy class is as an elective in later years if the nursing school decides I can join the class? Now, I don’t have to worry about trying to squeeze in that extra class. I not only got a pretty thorough anatomy lesson, but I also learned basic diagnostics, pediatric and geriatric trends, simple pharmacology, and a host of...

The Instagram of Medicine: Figure1

What is it? Smithsonian Magazine dubbed it the “new photo app that can help doctors brainstorm what, exactly, that weird thing growing on your leg is,” and it does exactly that. Doctors, nurse practitioners and a variety of health professionals can post photos and comment and categorize to help diagnosis. Figure1 may be even more popular with medical students who can learn from real life examples in fields across the board. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a quick, perhaps more accurate, diagnosis of that bizarre rash, it’s not the new WebMD. Only verified licensed physicians are allowed to post photos, though everyone can browse the pictures already posted. How does it work? While Figure1 may seem like the greatest HIPAA violation ever, the app has strict guidelines to protect patient privacy including a brief consent form attached to each photo. According to the Wall Street Journal, Co-founder Dr. Joshua Landy says that Figure1 is even more privacy conscious than previous methods of image and knowledge sharing.   Here’s an example of how the app works and just how useful it is to physicians and med students alike:   Figure1 is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users. Learn more at their website – https://figure1.com/....

The Guide to Your First Day of Sub Internship

I remember walking onto the floors of my first rotation exactly one year ago. It was like spectating an intense game of basketball right from center court. “Oh excuse me am I in your way?” “Oh ya, let me get that for you!” “Hey, want some water?” Feeling out of place was an understatement, and most days I looked forward to didactics and morning rounds because at least they offered some semblance of structure. But even in the middle of those sessions I would still feel a creeping sensation of ineptitude that would crawl up my legs and settle somewhere between my stomach and chest. Attendings and residents would rattle off imaging results, lab values, and H&Ps like they were naming the colors of the rainbow and I was still splashing around in the basic science pond proud of the fact that I knew that Hurthle cells were “pathogonomonic” for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Yup, as long as you didn’t ask me to read the EKG, point out the lesion on a CXR, or pretty much do anything of value I would be the best MS3 ever. Oh ya, I was kind of scared of the patients too. I just didn’t want to hurt them! So much was my care that I reserved myself to pretty much obtaining the entire history from the notes written by prior doctors. Good thing I...

Contents of a Medical Student’s Refrigerator

If you love food and you are having trouble remembering the nitty-gritty details of those disease states, just picture what a medical student’s refrigerator would look like! You’ll never forget “maple syrup urine syndrome” after you pour that syrup over your morning pancakes…or at least you hope it’s...

Profile of a First Year Med Student

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How Not to Get into Medical School

You want to go to medical school but are concerned that you might not do well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). What should you do? a. Study hard b. Take a test prep course c. Concoct an elaborate plan to transmit real-time photos of the exam questions to a confederate who has duped three medical students into thinking they are auditioning for jobs as MCAT prep tutors. Have the confederate supply you with the consensus answers that the tutors come up with via a phone link. Do not worry that the tutors might become suspicious because the images of the questions are fuzzy, they are allowed to discuss the questions, and your friend has to periodically leave the room to call you with the suggested answers.   As difficult as it is to believe, someone chose “c” and was caught when the tutors reported their suspicions to university security. When the non-test taking accomplice left the room, the med students looked at his computer and saw that MCAT tests were being given all over the world that day and that sites describing how to use a pinhole camera had been recently viewed. This episode raises a few questions. What sort of proctoring was taking place in the examination room? Apparently, no one noticed the camera, the transmitter or the phone being used by the examinee. What did the cheaters expect...