What You Need to Know About Holistic Review

Holistic review is undeniably a hot topic in the medical school admissions world currently. For traditional and non-traditional premeds alike, applying to a school that employs holistic review is becoming more desirable because of the simple fact that these admissions committees place less emphasis on having a perfect MCAT and a stellar GPA and instead try to get to know the student behind the application. Rather than narrowing their search to applicants who fit a certain cookie-cutter criteria, they look for students who exhibit excellence in all aspects of their life – not just their scores and experiences on paper but their previous work, achievements and the background that brought them to where they are today. The attitude is that everything about the student, even the parts that are unrelated to medicine, help tell their story and can attest to why they would succeed in medical school. Because of all the buzz I was hearing about this new style of admissions review, a little while ago I created a list of schools that either explicity state or otherwise imply that they use holistic review when looking at their applicants. I primarily found schools by looking at this report released by the AAMC and the rest I found on my own. With that in mind please know that this is by no means a comprehensive list so if you are aware...

10 Signs You Were Meant to Be an ED Doc

Whether you’re an aspiring emergency physician or a seasoned pro with decades of experience, there are some commonalities that most emergency docs seem to share. Here are 10 signs you just might be an ED doc: 1. What some may refer to as chaos, you call a typical day in the department:   2. I&Ds make you giddy. Something about draining an abscess is just so gratifying. 3. The X games is pretty much your every day life. Your hobbies include backcountry skiing while blindfolded, ultramarathoning in 118 degree Phoenix weather, and have participated in ride across America. Twice in the same day even. 4. “Regular” hours? What are “regular” hours? This past week, you’ve gone from days to nights, nights to swing, and then back to days again, but that’s just the way you like it. 5. You own at least 5 articles of North Face clothing.  Interestingly, none of them happen to be in any neutral colors. 6. You were torn between every specialty. At some point in your career, you swore you were going to do trauma surgery, obstetrics, internal medicine, anesthesiology, and radiology, sometimes alternating between all of them in the same week before realizing you could do it all with EM. 7. You were able to combine altruism, learning another language, and exploring a new continent somehow during a recent work-related trip.  Meanwhile, all of your friends stateside were jealous. 8. You...

Bat Girl and The Milwaukee Protocol

Jeanna Giese was sitting in church one ordinary Sunday when suddenly, from above, a small bat flew in and interrupted the service. It was whacked aside by someone, and Jeanna went to the little bat’s aid. She was an animal lover, a devoted rescuer, and she thought the bat was pretty cute. As she cradled the stunned creature in her hand, she remembers that it suddenly bit her, sending a stinging pain through her finger and hand. She took it outside, where it detached from her and flew off into a nearby tree. Satisfied that she had returned the helpless creature back to nature, she rejoined the church service, having no idea that the nip of the cute little bat she saved was already starting to kill her; she was fifteen years old. Like many teenage girls of the early 2000s, Jeanna was involved in many social and athletic activities and enjoyed socializing with her peers. When she got sick several weeks later and had to sit out during a volleyball game, it occurred to her it might be more than a viral illness. When her mother asked why she hadn’t played any of the game, Jeanne told her she had double vision. After that, as she notes in her own account of the story on her personal website, she remembers very little about what happened. Meanwhile, at The...

Turn Your Smart Phone Into An Advanced Biosensor

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have created an add-on for smart phones that turn the device into an advanced biosensor. In addition to allowing doctors and patients the opportunity to quickly analyze a sample, the cradle also leverages your phone to replace expensive scientific equipment. Check out an Associated Press video about the technology: Part of the genius of this app/cradle combination is just how many different technologies are crammed into a small package: you can test for peanut traces, bacteria, water toxins, and crop contaminates with the same device. That’s smart tech. Read more about it from the Associated...

The Official Holiday Gift Guide for Medical Students

A gift-giving guide for the medical student, intern or resident in your life this holiday season. 1. EMS Monopoly Just when you thought this game couldn’t possibly incite any more rage in you, now you’ve got to move around the board through terrain like “HemorrhageHighway” and risk getting your license revoked when you pick up a Trauma or Vitals card. Check it out here on Amazon.                     2. Occam’s Razor Brought to you by the folks over at Nerdcore Medical, this card game might be the most fun way to learn key symptoms and conditions for medical students and non-meds alike. There are several ways to play this game so you can break it out with your med school cohorts or play a matching-style version of the game with your younger cousin’s at the kids table during Christmas dinner. You can even play SPOONS with these cards! Find it here on Amazon. (It’s legit on my Wishlist)   3. Surgeon Flash Drive Back up all your invaluable study guides, papers and research on a flash drive that will constantly remind you of the person you will hopefully become at the end of your seemingly endless journey through med school. They look angry because they know you aren’t studying over Thanksgiving break! Find them here on Tech Fresh. 4. Med School in a Box...

Eating Chocolate and other lessons from the ABIM Forum

Every year, the ABIM Foundation convenes a set of thought leaders on American health care to answer the tough questions.   At first glance, this year’s meeting  had the same standard agenda –  talks and discussions followed by networking and informal activities. However, for some reason, this Forum was more exhausting. Perhaps trying to solve the nation’s vexing problems facing health care is fatiguing! So, what were some of the themes that we came away with? • Intrinsic motivation is powerful, so can we create it? We heard about the potential dangers of extrinsic motivation through financial reward. Pay-for-performance, after all, is a tool that is only as good as the system is designed, and many designs have not been very effective. I was reminded of an unusual medical education experiment when they started paying residents in pediatrics on a fee-for-service model (yes, residents). The residents saw more patients, and their outcomes even improved with fewer ER visits! But, closer inspection yielded that these residents stacked their clinics with well child visits, who were healthier and did not need to visit the ER. So fee-for-service residency was abandoned. While everyone agreed it was time to move away from fee-for-service medicine, do we really think a change in the payment system creates intrinsic motivation? One health system offered their solution: recruit those that are intrinsically motivated. But, that still leaves us with how does one become intrinsically motivated? The...

Just Call Me Doctor

Every once in a while, a nurse or patient mistakenly calls me doctor and I giggle. Me? A doctor?  Did I really look authoritative or seem to know what I was doing? You mean those poised people in long white coats, who have the ability to reassure with a few sentences, and have seemingly boundless, wiki-level knowledge in their brains? Surely it’s obvious that I’m just a bottom of the totem pole, work 60 hours a week for free med student. Recently, though, it’s beginning to sink in that in less than a year, I really will be a doctor I remember the first few weeks of MS1, mainly just shadowing my preceptor in the continuity clinic. Then, I was figuring out how to address patients or how to drape them properly, and thinking to myself, man I’ll never know as much as Dr. R.  She had only been out of residency for about half a decade, but I couldn’t imagine a time when she was any less composed or knowledgeable than the physician I knew. She was able to relate to patients so well, immediately knew the answers to questions they asked her, and even when she didn’t, was able to reply confidently and in such a manner that they were satisfied with anything she said. I understood that I was still a little baby stem cell in the infancy...

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