A Review Of Study Resources For The Big USMLE Step 1

A day rarely passes by without coming across yet another resource that is widely renowned for helping medical students do well on the USMLE Step 1. As soon as I get a chance, I jump onto one of those forums (SDN, usmleforum, etc.) to find out what people think. More often than not, I am left more indecisive than before, confused about who I should trust and whether it will be worth my time adopting a brand new resource to improve my chances for a good score on Step 1. However, looking forward to taking the exam in nearly six months from now, I have compiled a list of resources and would like to share what I think about them in as objective a manner as possible. So strap yourselves in for the ride!  First Aid I’m not going to beat the dead horse with this one. First Aid is a must for you to do well on the exam. It is a comprehensive resource that compiles all content from the first two years of medical school in one book. On the downside, it consists of lists and outlines rather than explanations. While there are mnemonics to help you remember the details, sometimes you may need mnemonics to remember the endless list of mnemonics. Kaplan In my opinion, Kaplan is a great resource for students who would like to...

How Doctors and Nurses Can Work Together

Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy working relationship is often the most difficult thing for some nurses to accomplish in their career. This is usually because we are trained in nursing school to be emotional and empathic to our patient’s needs. For some, this comes more natural, while others really struggle at this.  When it comes to being professional we sometimes tend to react more emotionally then we should. It is unfortunate but lateral aggression, drama, power trips, and attention seeking personalities plague almost every workplace and especially in the healthcare field. As a nurse and particularly as a travel nurse you will run into these personalities everywhere. So let me share with you a few tips on how to fight this kind of behavior, which in turn can help you maintain a healthy working relationship with fellow nurses and physicians. Don’t Be So Emotional! Let me first start off by saying that nurses are emotional. This is not necessarily a bad thing to say considering we need to be in order to be sensitive to our patient’s needs. But reacting emotionally in tense situations and when receiving negative feedback can be a career ender for any nurse. You need to learn when to be emotional and when not to be. Make sense? It’s a tricky and often difficult skill to learn as a nurse. Let’s go over...

32 Amazing Tips to Learn and Study Faster

Have you ever felt that there aren’t enough hours in the day? Or that you’re always struggling to get everything done in time? Medical Students—and anyone trying to learn something new—will probably understand what I’m talking about. Even if you’re fully invested in the process and have strong motivation, there’s just one thing keeping you from succeeding more: the lack of time. While it’s impossible to add extra hours to a day, there is still a way out. Want to know what it is? Learn and study faster. We’ve put together an infographic that will show you how to make the most of the time you have at your disposal. With 32 different ways of fast learning to choose from, at least some of them will surely be perfectly fitting for you. It won’t hurt to look through our infographic. And the couple of minutes you spend on it will pay off when you start using some of the techniques described below! Part of having a healthy study habit and maximizing your learning capacity is a healthy diet. Make sure to know about these eight superfoods for better studying! Everything steps up a notch on test days. You have to work harder and be ready to change things if they don’t work. As you progress you gain a better sense when to cut corners. Free more time for important things,...

A New FDA-Approved Therapy That Treats Leukemia and Lymphoma

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, is a precision medicine approach to treating certain forms of leukemia and lymphoma. The patients own cells are filtered and separated, then mixed with a deactivated virus that causes the cells to grow an artificial receptor that will track down the CD19 antigen expressed by these cancers. The modified T-cells are then reintroduced to the patient’s blood stream to begin therapy. Click here to read the press announcement from the FDA Newsroom. The FDA’s August 2017 approval of the CAR-T therapy known as tisagenlecleucel for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia was the first gene therapy approved in the United States. Less than two months later, the approval of axicabtagene ciloleucel expands the milestone further and reinforces the FDA’s willingness to support these novel therapies. Earlier this year, the FDA was in works to approve therapy which genetically alter’s a patient’s T-cells: The FDA may soon approve a new cancer therapy that genetically alters a patient’s own existing T-cells to fight leukemia. This new, investigational treatment is known as CTL019 and is a type of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. CTL019 utilizes a process in which T-cells are carefully harvested from each individual leukemia patient. These patient-specific T-cells are then genetically reprogrammed to express a chimeric CD19 antigen receptor and subsequently transfused back into the specific patient from whom they were originally collected. Once back inside the patient, these reprogrammed T-cells multiply,...

Drinking Nescafé: How Strong Is Your Caffeine Addiction?

Today I bought a giant can of Nescafé just to get the free sugar bowl that came with it. We already have a whole set of mugs I acquired the same way. My husband thinks I’m crazy and he keeps hiding the mugs in the deepest recess of the kitchen cupboard. But I like the mugs. I am genuinely thrilled by our new sugar bowl. It’s a cheery red and says Nescafé across the top. I like the stuff and I like Nescafé. You all think I’m crazy now. I mean, it’s not just instant coffee, it’s mediocre instant coffee made by a giant conglomerate. Some people will argue it’s the most disgusting coffee on earth. Why, exactly, would I want it to decorate my kitchen? The thing is, Nescafé is a symbol for me. When I started my aid career, I didn’t drink coffee at all. It was bitter and unpleasant and I usually got enough sleep that I didn’t need the caffeine. Then I moved overseas for my first aid job, and now I don’t just drink coffee. I drink Nescafé. And I LIKE it. It might be the most disgusting coffee on earth, but it’s available everywhere. You’re never without caffeine if you can tolerate Nescafé. Every single time a health official, a nurse, a community member or a colleague breaks out the coffee to welcome their...

Professionalism in Health Professions: What Does It Take?

I have learned that being in health professional school does not make you inherently professional. Nor does it mean that professors will teach this skill to you. Learning professionalism is like learning how to communicate well or learning good bedside manner. That is to say, you can’t really learn it. I picked up on a few things I wanted to share because I did certain things the wrong way and got corrected on it. I have also watched superiors do something that I want to emulate as a future provider. Dress code In clinic and in health care settings with patients, scrubs are the preferred dress code. Not only that, but they are the easiest (and most comfy) attire to reach for in the early morning after a night of not-enough sleep. Lucky for us bleary-eyed students and young doctors, scrubs and all closed-toes shoes (sneakers, too) are definitely professional in the healthcare world. I have also noticed some of my classmates – both men and women – wear khaki or black pants with a dress shirt or blouse for woman underneath their school/hospital-monogrammed white coats. Colleagues In all transparency, being cordial and even-tempered with colleagues and classmates is something I need to work on myself. When having a bad day, it is so easy to lash out when you are fueled with busy days of stress and frustration. Recognizing...

Why I Didn’t Do Emergency Medicine

When you get to your fourth year of medicine, there are a lot of different paths you can take and each one probably would change your life entirely. This entry is about why I didn’t do emergency medicine. If people like this entry, I can talk about other fields I was considering as well. EM has a lot of awesome things about it, and in many ways would have been a perfect field for me. I really love procedures. I work quickly. The hours are very reasonable. The pay is great. Here’s why I didn’t do EM: 1) For some reason, I really hate shift work. I like having a specific amount of work to do and know that I can leave when I finish it. Looking at a clock makes me physically ill. 2) I can’t sleep when the sun’s out. I’m like a reverse vampire. Or a human being. Anyway, those night shifts aren’t going to work for me. 3) I actually like continuity of care a lot. I even like the annoying patients when I get to see them continuously and build a relationship. 4) If there’s some new horrible killer virus out there, who’s going to get exposed first? Certainly not the physiatrist. 5) Although I like the idea of knowing everything about everything, I realize that it’s actually impossible. And that would eventually make...

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