medschool

9 Thoughts You Have When You Graduate From Medical School

1. Did 4 years just go by that quickly? It may be that med school is usually split up into pre-clinical and clinical years, but the time just flew by! When did you get grey hair? When did you gain 25 pounds? Did you really hook up with 25% if the females in your class? It’s like you lived a lifetime in just 4 years. The upside: if you did it right, you probably learned a lot, met lifelong friends, and were introduced to some really inspiring professors and scientists.   2. I’m gonna need a solid 2 year vacation now. You mean I only get a month? I call bulls*it!   3. Crap, that “debt” stuff they talked about really wasn’t a joke. Congrats!! You got your top residency choice in ______ (insert one of the most expensive cities to live in in the United States). They funny thing about top-ranked residency programs is that they are usually located in areas with heavy and diverse populations – metropolitan cities. Funny things about metropolitan locations? Lots of demand for living space and, thus, lots of rent.   4. I’m going to die alone. So, you pretty much blew every relationship that had potential in both undergrad and medical school because you were “so dedicated to your studies.” Now you’re about to start your residency where the time you aren’t in the hospital will...

How Are You Going to Spend Your “Last Summer” of Medical School?

The summer between first year and second year of medical school is sometimes referred to as the “last summer” since it is the last time students can travel or take off before they start the journey towards USMLE Step 1 and then their third year clerkships. With the angst building, first year medical students are actively deciding in the dead of winter what they will do over the summer. One popular decision is to do research – this is not uncommon since residency programs are increasingly competitive and look for students who have a commitment to scholarly work. However, there are a plethora of other things students could do as well. As tonight is our “Intro to our Summer Research Program” for Pritzker medical students, I thought I would share some of the most common questions I get about the “Last Summer”: 1. Should I do research in a competitive field? The answer here is to do substantive research that you are interested in with a “CAPE” mentor (Capable, Available, Project interests you, Easy to get along with). As my pre-med advisor once told me, “Mickey Mouse” research is not going to look good to anyone (no offense Mickey). The key is to find something you are passionate about – after all you have to tell this story on your interview trail of why you chose to do this...

5 High-Yield Gastroenterology Pearls for the ABIM Board and Medical Clerkship Exams

As we mentioned in a previous blog post this week, Gastroenterology and Hepatology comprises about 9% of the ABIM Internal Medicine exam, making it one of the more critical subjects on the boards. Below, we review 5 High Yield Gastroenterology/Hepatology Pearls that may help you score a few extra points on your ABIM or Internal Medicine shelf examination.   1. Interpreting Hepatitis B markers seems like a pain but is worth remembering Start with these key points: o Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HbsAg) → active infection o Hepatitis B surface Antibody (HbsAb) → past infection or vaccination against hepatitis B o Hepatitis Be Antigen (HbeAg) → active replication of the virus o Anti Hepatitis B core IgM Antibody (Anti-HBc IgM) → acute infection o Anti Hepatitis B core IgG Antibody (Anti-HBc IgG) → chronic infection This table helps reinforce these rules: (Click above image to view larger size) As you see above: Along with the Cleared state, both Chronic and Carrier Hepatitis B patients will have positive HBsAg and Anti-HBc IgG. How can these two conditions be differentiated? Easily. Just look at the Liver function tests (LFTs) o Chronic → Increased LFTs o Carrier → Normal LFTs What about that Hepatitis D virus? o Hepatitis D can’t exist on its own. It requires Hepatitis B infection to be present o Anti-Hbc IgM + Hepatitis D virus → acute co-infection...

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...