ellie-brooks

Ellie Brooks, MD

Ellie Brooks is an EM resident who is super excited about finally being done with med school, but hates wearing this ugly black, beeping box on her hip they call a pager. In her ever-dwindling spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her canine, climbing rocks, sleeping in tents, and meeting many random human beings.

A Third Year’s Letter to Her Patients

To my future patient, There are some things I want to tell you now, from the perspective of a third year medical student. I don’t know how much I’ll change by the time we meet, but if my experience thus far is any indication, I won’t be the same person I was a decade before I met you, or even in the few years leading up to it. That’s life, I suppose. Always dynamic and ever changing. I want to write this so that you know where I’m coming from and what you mean to me. I also write this so that I can remind myself. I’m human, just like you. Contrary to what you may believe, I did not go into this profession for the money. Heck, I will owe ~$300,000 in debt by the time I graduate medical school and have already amassed ~$20,000 in interest during the first few years of my training. I accrue ~$40 in interest a day and when I finally start making my modest residency salary next year, it will cost me over $1,000 a month if I paid only interest alone. I went into this field because it was the perfect combination of my academic interests (science, medicine, physiology) and the ability to really make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted not only to be able to identify your MI and activate the...

10 Ways in Which Residency Interviews are Basically the Same as Dating

 With interview season starting up and my ERAS applications submitted, I find myself with the same flurry of emotions as I have going on a first date. I’m a little anxious, excited, hopeful, maybe intimidated, and perhaps a little overly ambitious.  So how exactly are residency interviews just like dating? 1. You dress up like this …when your usual motto is this:   2. You exaggerate your accomplishments in an effort to impress.   3. And tell them how great you are even though, duh, they should be able to see that on their own.   4. Meanwhile, you stick your foot in your mouth.   5. You get asked strange questions and don’t know how to respond.   6. And hope they don’t think you’re stupid.   7. In the end, you usually leave feeling inadequate.   8. And despite how badly they may make you feel, at the end, you reiterate your interest (and if you can throw in some scientific knowledge in there, even better.)   9. And promise to keep in contact.   10. But find out on Match Day that they didn’t choose you. But don’t worry, you can always try again and again, and like in dating, hopefully learn from your...

The 8 Definitive Signs You Have Succumbed to Med School Senioritis

Senioritis. Post-Match aboulia. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the last few months before residency starts and you can’t seem to focus on anything but serially liking selfies on Facebook. Though your body seems to be showing up for rounds every weekday, your brain has already checked out of med school. Here are 8 signs you may be suffering from FYBIGMI: 1. Your notes have gotten progressively shorter, to the point of becoming incomplete sentences.   2. Your brown-nosing questions about why it’s important to get the critical view during a chole has been replaced by telling your attending a day-by-day account of your impending trip to Southeast Asia.   3. You don’t ask for time off anymore. While you walked on eggshells 3rd year trying to explain to your chief resident how you’ll regret missing that 50th lap appy due to getting your triennial pap exam, you’ve gotten to the point of saying “Hey, I won’t be coming in Thursday because of my 4:30 p.m. GYN appointment. See you later”.   4. The third year on your service fumbles with his words and is overcome with diaphoresis upon pimping during rounds, but you’ve perfected the art of “I don’t know” and throwing your hands up throughout the final year of med school.   5. When your attending/resident sends you home at 1:00 in the afternoon, you don’t beg to stay, just to...

10 Things I Learned From Medical School

Medical school. Simultaneously some of the best and worst years of my life. Though it seems as if I was just reciting the Hippocratic Oath and pledging to uphold the values of the profession yesterday, I’ll be trading in my short white coat for a big girl one tomorrow. Finally with the ever so coveted title of “Dr. Brooks,” I look back at the important, and sometimes rather unexpected, lessons I learned during the past four years and want to share some high-yield tips on excelling in med school with the next generation of physicians-to-be.   1. If you’ve been accepted and you’re pre-studying cardiac physiology or glycogen storage diseases: STOP.   No, really. Put that book down right now. What you’re doing is like trying to update the paint job on a restored 1966 Buick Skylark with a sharpie. It’s not going to make a dent in the material you have to know and you should spend the remnants of freedom doing awesome, fun things.   2. Okay, so school’s actually started and you’re terrified of the first exam. Find someone or a few people in your class with compatible study habits and quiz each other. It’s amazing how differently our brains process the same information. You’ll pick up catchy mnemonics from classmates and remember tidbits of information you associate with hilarious, sleep-deprived, antic-filled late-night study sessions.   3. Don’t...

8 Humbling Moments Every Intern Will Experience

Intern year starts and you’re feeling pretty good.  Those well-deserved two letters finally appear after your name, people are looking up to you, and the reflection in the mirror of you in that long white coat is looking kind of fly. Then reality hits and you realize you’re actually not the rockstar you thought you were. Here are 8 humbling moments that every intern will experience. 1. Your med student outshines you Sure he only has two patients and doesn’t have to write H&Ps or put in orders, but Patrick Med Student knows way more about those two patients you share and routinely (inadvertently?) embarrasses you on rounds with the lab results and family history you had no idea even existed.  2. The nurses know way more than you do You might actually come up with the right medication to order for your patient, but have no idea what dose to give. Is 50 mcg of Fentanyl good? How about 100? Luckily, your friendly ICU nurse has been taking care of Mr. Johnson for the past few days and tells you what to put into the computer. Phew. Saved again. 3. You show up to a code and have no idea what to do via GIPHY It’s chaos. You’re not sure who’s keeping time, the nurses are frantically running around looking for supplies, the resident in charge is trying to...

The Key to Sub-Internship Success

As a residency applicant, I scoured the internet looking for articles on what to do during my sub-internships and trolled SDN forums for tips on succeeding during those few precious months of away rotations. As a soon to be second-year resident, I now realize that the key to success is simple: just be a normal, hard-working person.   No, really. It is just that simple. When you spend a month at University Dream Hospital, you’re on a month long job interview. People want to know to know whether they want to work with you for 3+ years. If you’re a cool person to hang out with on an overnight shift, you’re probably already doing better than half of your peers.   Wait, so you don’t have to be wicked smart? Well, sure, you should have a basic medical fund of knowledge and probably know some important clinical decision tools, but it’s just as, if not more important, to be teachable. Take in some pearls from the attendings and residents who spend the time to teach you and read up on conditions pertaining to specific patients to demonstrate you took the time out to learn about them. You’ll remember better that way, anyway.   Nintendo   Also, be enthusiastic and similarly, don’t be lazy.  I definitely try to avoid giving our rotating students the 5150 medical clearance evals, chronic back...

A Reward Worth More Than $1 Million: Becoming a Doctor

“So, is it worth it?” A fellow airplane passenger asked me this after stealing glances at my Macbook screen and realizing I was in medical school. He was debating whether or not to apply and admitted that he already had many doubts. Though he was a tentative pre-med and had not yet taken his MCAT, the question resonated with me and I’m sure, many individuals at various stages in their medical training. I had thought about this many times throughout my schooling, during all-nighters in which I’d study dozens of origin and insertion flashcards to prepare for an anatomy practical or while staring at my interns typing SOAP notes and wondering why I was still at the hospital for the 15th hour. The answer I’d come up with? It depends on why you go. First, you don’t do it for the money. Being a doctor just isn’t as lucrative as you may think (see: $1 million dollar mistake). While a medical education will likely afford someone with a 6-figure annual salary, it comes at a price. The average medical school debt for 2013 graduates was just under $170k and that’s not including the potential undergraduate or post-baccalaureate loans. In addition to the bottom line, one also has to consider opportunity costs associated with going to medical school. Many spend the majority of their 20s either preparing for or being in medical school,...

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