chantal-mendes

Chantal Mendes

Chantal Mendes is a writer who loves science. She graduated with a journalism degree from Boston University in 2010 (go Terriers!) and is currently applying to medical school and doing research at Northwestern University. In addition to her interests in pediatrics and infectious diseases, Chantal enjoys hip-hop yoga, anything Lord of the Rings related and searching for the best hamburger in Chicago. She shares stories of her journey from journalist to prospective doctor on her blog, journalistdoingscience.blogspot.com.

http://journalistdoingscience.blogspot.com

Picking a Doctor’s Brain: 9 Questions About the Trials and Travails of Residency

The Kaiser Permanente San Diego Family Residency Program welcomes six new residents per year into one of the largest Family Medicine Departments in the world. I was very excited to interview one of their Chief Residents, Dr. Aaron Edelstein, about his experience as a resident and glean some helpful advice As a doctor, he is dedicated to family medicine and has a refreshing attitude towards balancing life and work responsibilities. Outside of work Aaron is an avid runner and hiker and enjoys the San Diego music scene. You can follow him on Twitter @ConnectTheDocs. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself – where you’re from, what medical school you went to, what field are you specializing in, what’s your favorite hobby? I grew up outside Boston and came back for medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine, in the MD/MBA program.  I got roped into Family Medicine by my fantastic advisor, Dr. Altman, and the more I learned about FM, the most I knew it was a great choice for me. I have a great interest in data, and patterns, so the idea of keeping a whole patient panel healthy really sparked my interest. Medicine seems to be moving towards a performance model, where physicians will be monitored and rewarded for their innovative work at keeping patients healthy.  FM captures that idea and concept well. 2. What...

5 Unexpected Ways Your Life Will Change in Med School

While I may not yet be a medical student, I spend a lot of time with friends who are currently in their second year. Some of them I’ve known since before they were in school and others I’ve only recently met but they all share some common behaviors that I believe are a direct result of their studies. After hanging out so much with these wonderful people I’ve made the following observations. 1. Everything can be related to medical school classes: Every topic of conversation and every situation you may find yourself in can be likened to a story that was heard during a cardio or neuro lecture. Your problems will be compared to infectious diseases and if you’re looking for advice, don’t be surprised to hear your friend begin by saying “well, we went over this in psych last week…”   2. While watching popular television shows: like “The Walking Dead” or “Breaking Bad”, your medically inclined friends will say things like “oh, I totally get what a fugue state is now” or, “this is a ridiculous depiction of how the CDC would act in a situation like this.” Get used to it.   3. Be prepared: for your friend to want to throw things out of your fridge after rummaging around for a snack and finding something nearing expiration. “Oh my God, this cheese is a day past...

4 Things That Will Leave No Doubts About Your Decision to Be a Doctor

What do you do when you start to wonder if you really know what you are getting yourself into by signing up to be a doctor? I don’t mean when you’re experience serious, soul-searching doubt that requires considerable thought to make sure you are on the right path, I mean those little, sneaky fears that overcome you every once in a while when you’re tired or you just got rejected by yet another school. I’ve been struggling with these feelings lately as I sit and wait to hear back from the first school I interviewed at. Being in a state of limbo can be really stressful and the waiting game is no fun to play. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few things that always help me feel better when I’m facing uncertainty. 1. Volunteer: Helping others, no matter what the cause, is always great because it gets your mind off of yourself for a moment with the added benefit of knowing you’re actively making a difference in someone’s life. Volunteering makes you more compassionate and empathetic and often helps you feel more grateful for your own health and well-being. If you’re working at a hospital with residents & attendings it’s often an accurate glimpse into what your future may look like and will fill you with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for your chosen profession, leaving...

Help! I’m Dating a Med Student…

Don’t worry, the first thing to remember is that med students are just like everyone else. At least, they would be if “everyone else” were also highly intelligent, ambitious, competitive, caring, and constantly stressed. But, the reality is, you probably like this person BECAUSE of some of the qualities they possess that made them choose to pursue a career in medicine, so, don’t freak out about the less positive aspects of having a significant other who is married to their profession. Of course, we could all use a little advice sometimes to get through a tough spot or two in any relationship, regardless of if you’re dating a guy who has all the time in the world or a lady who is on her surgery rotation and so busy you can barely remember what she looks like. Here are a compilation of tips I’ve gathered from girlfriends/boyfriends of medical students and am now passing onto you in hopes that it will help you navigate your relationship with your own med school love. CBS Interactive 1. Try not to take some things personally. Medical students are notoriously stressed and tend to prioritize everything in their life as being somewhere underneath the all encompassing category of “med school responsibilities.” This means that they might forget they promised they’d be home in time for the delicious dinner you prepared especially for them...

What is “Good Medicine”?

An unexpected trip to the immediate care clinic in my neighborhood a few weeks ago left me pondering “good medicine” – what I like to call the administration of health care that addresses not just the physical, but also the emotional needs of the patient and truly encompasses what I feel it means to be an excellent physician.   (this has some inappropriate language but it’s a hilarious gif so…) It started on Sunday with a mild stomach ache that over the next 24 hours quickly devolved into what I delicately termed “lower GI upset” on the medical information sheet I was given to fill out when I arrived at the clinic. Three days with no reprieve convinced me to get myself checked out. After sitting for about ten minutes in the waiting area I was ushered into a chilly exam room and my vitals were taken by a friendly nurse.     I then waited for another ten or fifteen minutes for the doctor. Jovial with a friendly laugh, he put me immediately at ease and from the description I gave of my ailment, quickly determined that I most likely had a virus in my digestive tract which should resolve itself soon with the help of a few OTC medications and what he called a “GI Cocktail” that I could take before I left. After checking my pulse, he also decided to administer an IV since I was extremely dehydrated....

The 5 Best Classes to Prepare Yourself for Med School

It’s the beginning of a new school year and whether you’re a pre-med in undergrad, a post-bac student or a current applicant, it’s time to start thinking about important courses to take to prepare for medical school. Here are a few suggestions that I’ve had off current medical students who swear that these classes helped them to make it through their M1&M2 years unscathed. Anatomy & Physiology Becoming familiar in even the simple basics of the human body structure and function will be invaluable when you’re struggling through gross anatomy and trying to learn how to draw out the nerves of the brachial plexus, I promise.   Statistics/Epidemiology This may actually be a requirement for some of the schools you end up applying to so get it over with early and you won’t have to stress about taking it during the application cycle. Biochemistry Honestly, I feel like Biochem has a bad rap. I really enjoyed the class I took and I think the amount of misery inflicted by this subject is inversely proportional to how awesome your professor is. Choose wisely!   Humanities/Sociology It’s important to be well rounded as a student so you should take a few classes in the humanities or sociology that interest you. Even more important is the valuable practice you’ll get reading, condensing and summarizing large amounts of information. It might not seem...

5 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Shut-In This Winter

Can you smell it? Wafting gently through the air, that elusive yet persistent hint of something that raises the fine hair on your arms but that you can’t quite name? Of course you can. It’s the faint, crisp, all too familiar scent that heralds the coming of autumn. I know, I know, it feels like summer just barely started and suddenly the warm breeze is tinged with the suggestion of the coming cold weather. It feels like I was celebrating the first day of spring mere weeks ago yet somehow it’s already the end of August.Labor Day Weekend has snuck up and found us in a cruel game of hide & seek. School is just around the corner and it’s time to return to early mornings yawning away in lecture and late nights studying in the hushed library. Oh sweet summer children, winter is coming and it almost doesn’t bear thinking about.     If you’re like me and are already feeling the cold fingers of despair when contemplating the prospect of trudging through feet of snow into a wall of sleet, here are a list of things to look forward to as the weather begins to turn. 1. Apple/Pumpkin Picking!  Depending on where you live, this is a great option if you’re looking for a fun day out in the fall. Go with a group and dress appropriately...

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