Cancer Immunotherapies: Changing Lives and Science

Sometimes, trying to learn all the different cancer therapies out there can feel a bit like drowning in a sea of big, complicated names. There are seemingly infinite number of “-inib”s and “-umab”s used to treat cancer. My work in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt is focused on understanding the mechanisms of how cancer therapies cause heart and vascular disease. As I am knee-deep in experiments and projects, I find it important to step back and remember the awe I have for some of these cancer therapies. One project in the lab is assessing the immune-related adverse effects of cancer immunotherapies. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights an adverse cardiovascular effect of immune checkpoint-inhibitors that initiated a cascade of questions on the safety of these drugs. While we are still trying to profile the safety of immune checkpoint inhibitors, it is undeniable that these cancer immunotherapies are amazing from a scientific, medical, and patient perspective. To marvel at the nature of immunotherapies, it helps to have a basic understanding of how they work. As an undergraduate student, I have developed a valuable skill at taking concepts that are very complicated and breaking them down by asking, “What is most important for me to know?” I apply this approach to understanding cancer immunotherapies as well. There are many visuals out there for understanding...

Tips for Medical Students: How to Make Money While You Study

Being a medical student comes as a very expensive cost and it can leave students with no extra money to spend on things they enjoy. Then of course you have to deal with the enormous amount of work that comes with medical school, which leaves you with very little free time. With all that being said, there is a way for you to make some extra cash while completing your studies. Many students live away from home during their studies which can make life even more unaffordable. You simply have to find the options that work for you and your schedule. Here are some ways you can make money while being a medical student. Writing As a medical student you are going to learn a lot of valuable information that can be shared with the rest of the world. You can do freelance writing for a medical blog or website and be a guest contributor. If the blog is high end, you can earn a significant amount of money per article. The great thing about this is that you can fit it into your schedule and write when you have some extra time. All you have to do generally is meet the deadline and you got some money in your pocket. Just be careful not to waste too much of your time writing for blogs that pay you next...

What Can Nurses Do That Doctors Can’t?

Patients are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners instead of physicians for a number of reasons. For one thing, they may be more accessible since physicians’ offices are sometimes overcrowded and an appointment is hard to come by. It can also help lower the cost of medical treatments since nurses don’t bill out as high as doctors do. Mostly it’s because people are coming to realize that nurse practitioners are extremely capable and knowledgeable health professionals that can offer a high level of excellent care. In fact, because of their background in nursing, some even say that nurse practitioners have a unique ability to make stronger connections with their patients. As more nurse practitioners open their own practices or become more commonplace in medical facilities, the big question that’s been on the mind of those in the medical community is if nurses can actually replace doctors. There is no simple answer, but there’s no doubt that nurse practitioners are certainly making an impact in the healthcare world. Learn More about getting a nursing degree. Take a look at how nurse practitioners compare with doctors, and why in some cases, their services might be interchangeable. What can nurse practitioners do NPs have to go well beyond the education and training of a regular RN in order to practice at that advanced level. For starters, you must complete a master’s or doctoral...

How Do You Imagine Your Future Career As A Physician?

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Lying down in bed at night right before you’re about to go to sleep, imagining your life after 15 years when you are an independent, practicing physician. We all know what it’s going to take to get there – working your butt off, passion for the field, etcetera etcetera. However, given the people of science that we are, it might be worthwhile to look at it from a more objective lens. In other words, here’s the question that I want to try to answer – what are the factors that contribute to the decision you make when choosing a specialty? Inside the OR vs. Outside the OR vs. Somewhere in the Middle I would encourage you to reference an earlier article I wrote where I described the process that every first year medical student should consider going through, trying to shadow in as many specialties as possible in order to figure out between medicine and surgery. In my opinion, this is the most important decision that you need to make while you are still in infancy for the long road ahead. If you like being in the OR and nothing else, then you should do something in surgery. If you can live without the OR, but still want to do something procedural, then you should look into something along...

Dr. Orthochick: Hip Dislocation

I was supposed to have a “research day” yesterday, which would have been really nice since Dr. Jewish emailed me to inform me that my whole “summary” section for my paper sucked and i had to redo it since it did not “emphasize the points of this paper or convince the orthopedic surgeon that this paper is in any way useful or relevant.” He also asked me if I wanted to help him with a project, which means I have 3 projects going and potentially 2 more starting soon. So yeah, a research day would have been nice and I would have actually used it to get research done, thankyouverymuch. As luck would have it, I had to cover a Dr. Grandpa case. It looked like a cool case, it was a hip replacement but the lady had a really deformed hip socket so it was going to be done a special way. The advantage to this is that it’s a cool case, the disadvantage is that I don’t get to do much. but I like hip replacements so OK, I’m cool with the whole thing. The surgery went fine and I ordered a postoperative xray to be done in the recovery room because that’s Dr. Grandpa’s MO. By that point it was around 10:30AM so I figured I could stick around and wait for the xray results and...

Why 4 Days Off A Month During Residency Isn’t Enough

During my Medicine rotations during med school and also during my Medicine intern year, we had four days off per month. I believe that’s the minimum that residencies are forced to provide. Maybe this makes me a delicate little snowflake, but I think 4 days off per month is nowhere near enough. Especially when the other 26-27 days of the month, you are waking up super early, leaving super late, and sometimes spending the night in the hospital. I remember one resident said she got a simple cold and it lasted for two months because she was so overworked that she couldn’t shake it. Is it any wonder residents are so burned out? There was one month during internship when I was feeling really depressed and burned out, and I was going into a stretch of working nearly two weeks nonstop with two overnights wedged in there. I asked my lovely (not) senior resident if there was any way I could have even a half day off in there. In retrospect, I’m embarrassed I asked because the answer was so obviously no. She let me have it: “If you get a day off, that means someone else has to cover for you!” The solution, in my mind, is that we need to train more physicians so the ones we have aren’t so overworked and miserable. Yet I doubt that...

Why Not To Go To Med School

So you’re interested in going to medical school. But maybe you shouldn’t. In this post, we’ll talk about reasons why not to go to medical school. Let’s start with why I wrote this post. This past week one of my classmates and I were talking about our plans for residency. I recently decided my future career (Internal Medicine) but he was much further from a decision. Instead, he says he was considering “selling out” and getting a consulting job. Now I’ve nothing against the consulting job. “But can you imagine going through 4 years undergrad, the freaking MCAT, and 4 years of med school (+ Step 1 and Step 2) just to end up in consulting?” This is why knowing if your reasons are authentic can save you a lot of trouble later on. But if your reasons correspond with one a few in this post, it may be reason to think on whether or not to go to medical school. So let’s get started.   “I Want To Help People” You may have read the headline and wondered why wanting to help people is a bad reason to go into med school. Well honestly it’s not a bad reason, it’s just too vague of a reason. Almost every pre-med says they want to go to med school to “help people”. But what does that mean? Why can’t you...