Student Debt: About the Mortgage Weighing You Down

So, I feel bad that all of my posts seem to do nothing but poke holes in the bubble that protects medical students from the “real world.”  I started with the threats to GME, and then brought home the government shutdown…and now I’m about to do the same with student debt.  But talk about it or not, this hulking Goliath is going to catch up with many of you one way or another, so I figure best to be prepared. Let’s get the numbers out of the way first: 86%– the amount of graduates from 2012 who had debt $166,750– the average amount of debt for these graduates from medical school ONLY.  Let’s note that there is actually a bimodal peak here, with over 1/3 of these students having debt > $200,000 (meaning that the average is skewed down thanks to those scholarship recipients). $49,651– the average salary of a 2012 intern. This equates to under $13/hr as residents work 40-80 hours per week. 36%– the amount of these graduates who also have undergraduate debt   Briefly I want to talk to you about a cushion we used to have called “federal loan subsidies”.  There were loans called subsidized Stafford loans that did not begin accruing interest until 6 months after the student graduated medical school.  But then Section 502 of the Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated this...

4 Halloween Costumes for Almost Docs

1. A human genome. Grab 22 of your closest friends and throw two of these bad boys tied together in the middle. If you can grab your sister and each of you wear one and stick together, bonus points for being “sister” chromatids. 2. Dermatome Man. You can either number or color code if you want to get really fancy. 3. Medically accurate skeleton: Instead of this… do this… …your a med student now, and you know better. 4. Homunculus LIVE + =...

Get Your “Exorcise” This Halloween…

Happy Halloween from The Doctor’s Channel! It’s the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist, and The Doctor’s Channel has added its own little twist to this classic American horror film. If you like pea soup, you WON’T want to miss the ending! Don’t forget to share this great video card with your colleagues...

Can Women in Medicine Ever Have it All?

A couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store and I ran into one of the top neurologists at our hospital. It was odd to see her in a different context. She’s a slight woman, usually white-coat clad with glasses and a stern gaze. When she smiled at me and gave a small wave as I passed her in the aisle, it took a few moments for it to register who she was. I exchanged pleasantries with her and took in what she looked like “on the outside”. Still slight in build, but sans glasses and clad in jeans and a nice blouse. Her cart was filled with produce– and baby food–and her adorable toddler was babbling at me from his seat in the shopping cart. The next time I crossed paths with her in the hospital, I realized that my perspective of her had undergone a tectonic shift; one that I wasn’t proud of. I like to envision myself as a forward-thinking, equality-proponing young woman; but after that encounter in the grocery store, I saw her as softer. Where before I had been intimidated by her, as I am by most physicians, somehow seeing her as a mother had really changed my perspective. I wondered, then, if her colleagues had– or did — feel the same way. Not long after my paradigm shift, I read an...

Baseball In a Time of Cholera

The cholera epidemic in Haiti was one of the worst public health outbreaks to plague an already devastated nation. After the catastrophic earthquake that took place on January 12, 2010, upwards of 7,490 people have died and 586,000 people have fallen ill to cholera. To make matters worse, UN peacekeepers from Nepal were implicated as the source of the outbreak. This must-see short documentary covers the aftermath of the outbreak as well as one boy’s personal story to keep hope alive for his family and community through baseball. Watch the film, share it with your network and visit undeny.org to sign the petition. Together we can end this crisis!       Featured image is a screenshot from video above ...

The Art of Choosing Who You Want To Be

When I was four, playing with toy cars meant smashing them together as hard as their plastic bumpers could handle. My favorites included a yellow Tonka dump truck, a police sheriff’s car with flashing lights, and a fire truck with a retractable ladder. I didn’t know much then, but I did know that garbage smelled bad, so I wanted to become either a policeman or fireman—mostly so I could drive a cool car with a siren and not have to wait in traffic. When I turned seven, my true calling arrived on the scene in a big way. Everything else seemed like a waste of time—I would become a Pokémon Master. Upon turning eight, my family caved to my demands for a dog, and I finally found myself sitting in the backseat with a tiny yellow Labrador puppy. She was wrapped in a blanket on my lap, like a stuffed animal that had finally heard my prayers and started to wag its tail. Over the course of less than an hour in that car, I abandoned all hopes of becoming a Pokémon Master. I instead set my sights on something far more pragmatic—becoming a veterinarian—so I could take care of my new puppy, if she ever got sick. At thirteen, I wanted to become a baseball player so I could play for the Yankees, maybe next to Derek Jeter,...

When Medical Nudity Becomes Uncomfortable

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