sonal-kumar

Sonal Kumar

Sonal Kumar is passionate about combining science and storytelling. She has vast experiences outside of healthcare including marketing and advertising, print and broadcast journalism, including TV/radio production. Sonal is an alumna of Columbia University. She tweets @sonalkumar2011.

The Latest and Greatest Health and Medical Stories, For You by Me

It’s a pretty busy time for us sleep-deprived, hard-working humans in the Almost Doctor community! Pre-medical students and MS1’s are headed back to school, medical school applicants are furiously working on secondary applications, and medical students are being medical students. Because of this, I took the liberty to curate the latest and greatest stories in health and medicine on the web right now.   1. “Storytelling in Medicine – the Passion and the Peril” | Dr. Danielle Ofri Excerpt: “So much of medicine is about stories—the ones we hear, the ones we tell, the ones we participate in—that it is no accident that doctors and nurses are attracted to stories.” Link to article: http://danielleofri.com/storytelling-in-medicine-the-passion-and-the-peril/   2. “Doctors Fail to Address Patient’s Spiritual Needs” | Dr. Robert Klitzman Excerpt: “Religion was never discussed in my medical training. In medical school, a priest maintained a small lounge, providing coffee and tea, where students could sometimes drop in to get coffee, but that was wholly optional, and most students never did so.” Link to article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/13/doctors-fail-to-address-patients-spiritual-needs/?_r=0   3. “Our Family Secrets” | Anonymous Medical Student Excerpt: “Do any of you have someone to forgive from your clinical experiences? Did anything ever happen that you need to forgive or perhaps still can’t forgive?” Link to original essay: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2427613 Excerpt: “This issue includes an On Being a Doctor essay, titled “Our Family Secrets,” that...

I’m Pre-Med, why should I care about humanities?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Medical Humanities” is the study of the intersection of medicine and humanistic disciplines such as philosophy, religion, literature, and the fine and performing arts. But, what does that mean, really? And, most importantly, how does it all relate to the practice of medicine? I’ve selected a few videos that do a great job of explaining humanistic medicine and make it directly relatable to patient care.   Honoring the stories of Illness | Dr. Rita Charon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24kHX2HtU3o   Narrative and Medicine: The Importance of the Case History | Dr. Oliver Sacks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PYAnB5Jx-k   Narrative Humility | Dr. Sayantani DasGupta https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ3ucjmcZwY   On the power of patient narrative | Dr. Leane Wen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybZIsTJBFxM   Developing Empathy | Dr. Danielle Ofri https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6LK1M3jqFw   Illness as Narrative | Ann Jurecic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKcqjZiAbFE   Mindful Medicine | Charles Paccione...

The Pre-Medical Student Life As Explained by GIFs

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a GIF is worth 10,000. Here are 10 GIFs that perfectly explain the pre-medical student life. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9....

Non-Traditional advice on the MCAT for the non-traditional test taker

…The MCAT. *Audible sighs * Don’t let the four-letter acronym fool you; preparing for this test is no small feat. It is (undoubtedly) the biggest hurdle standing between you and your medical school dream. This standardized test in particular is the academic Olympics and (arguably) induces more fear and frustration than any other pre-medical requirement. As a non-traditional student myself, I can attest to the fact that the MCAT won’t just set you back a few hundred dollars. Studying demands significant, often underestimated, personal and professional sacrifices. Your commitment to medicine will be questioned and doubted especially if you, like me, are not a recent college graduate. Friends, foes, and family members alike interjected their opinions on my decision to throw caution to the wind and pursue medicine “at my age.” I struggled immensely, but learned significantly, from being a non-traditional student. I wanted to share some of those insights here as they relate to the MCAT. Doctor or bust Take the MCAT because you are serious about medical school and becoming a doctor. The turbulence on the long, winding road to medicine is not at all for the faint-hearted, MCAT included. If you have determined – after serious deliberation and significant exposure – that doctoring is the only thing you want to do with your professional life, then and only then should you study and sit for the...

Being Pre-Med is What I Do, Not Who I am

I recently reconnected with my third grade teacher, Mrs. Garrett. She brought the scrapbook she assembled when I was a student in her class. She had ten students that year and each of us had our own page in the book. I turned to mine.   In the center, there was a picture of me wearing a crisply ironed collared shirt with perfectly straightened hair and a string of pearls I surely begged my mom to wear for that picture. Arranged rather creatively around my picture was a newspaper clipping about the award I won for being the only kid who wore a seat belt on the bus, my straight A report card, and a piece of paper on which I wrote in incredibly neat handwriting: “I want to be a doctor.”   Mrs. Garrett reminded me that the assignment was to write something about myself. Out of curiosity, I flipped through the pages in her scrapbook and read what my classmates wrote about themselves. One of my friends wrote “Pink is my favorite color” and another wrote, “I love to dance.” Most others wrote about their hobbies or interests and all the other pages included pictures of my classmates making silly faces, having fun, and playing outside. There were just two other pictures of me in the scrapbook, both showing me sitting at my desk with a sharpened...

3 Simple Tips to Maintaining Your Happiness Throughout Med School

In her new book, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect The Practice of Medicine, physician and author Dr. Danielle Ofri writes: “Doctors who are angry, nervous, jealous, burned out, terrified, or ashamed can usually still treat bronchitis or ankle sprains competently.” This is so incredibly sad. And, it is most depressing to realize that the experience isn’t much different for us. The tendency to evade our emotion begins as early in our career as our pre-med life, well before we actually don a crisp white coat and care for patients. We take such terrible care of ourselves. The process from start to finish can feel, more often than not, like a Herculean task, but we refuse to accept the frustration, anger and fatigue that are coupled with the hardships of our professional pursuit. Why do we think we are immune to emotion? Why do we forget that we are so much more than just organs, tissues, and bones? This notoriously difficult pre-MD life can make you feel like you are gripping onto the fraying shreds of a short rope. And somehow, through it all, when we are “angry, nervous, jealous, burned out, terrified, or ashamed” we are expected to keep calm and carry on. After days (okay, fine, maybe months) of carrying on without feeling any calm at all, I had to take a step back to process the...

Top 24 Study Jams for Your Next Exam

In college, the only thing I needed to pump me for a long day of work is a Café Americano and an isolated cubicle in a freakishly quiet library. Recently, I admit I can’t focus without a good beat.  If it’s late and you’re tired or, let’s be real, just frustrated and want to scream and throw things, look no further than my totally random playlist of instant mood lifters: 1)    Harder Better Faster Strong – Daft Punk   2)    Stronger – Kanye West   3)    Too Legit to Quit – Hammer, Sia    4)    Dirt Off Your Shoulder – Jay Z   5)    Let’s Get it – P. Diddy   6)    Titanium (feat. Sia) – David Guetta   7)    Ambition (feat Meek Mill) – Wale   8)    Better – K’NAAN   9)    Don’t you worry child – Swedish House Mafia   10)  Keep your head up – Andy Gammer   11)  Make me proud –  Drake, Nicki Minaj   12)  Skyscraper – Demi Lovato   13) Who Says – Selena Gomez   14) Float On – Modest Mouse   15)  Happy (from Despicable Me 2) – Pharrell Williams   16) Girl on Fire – Inferno Version – Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj   17) Focused feat. Kid Cudi – Wale   18) Firework – Katy Perry   19) One Top of the World – Imagine Dragons   20) The...