6 Books for Future Doctors to Read, Part 2

Medical students and aspiring health professionals may already read their fair share of literature, but check out these books for future doctors. Click here to check out Part 1! “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones The opioid epidemic is perhaps our greatest public health crisis. To put this in perspective, overdoses claim more lives in the U.S. annually than car accidents. As a doctor, you’ll very likely see patients who are struggling with addiction. In “Dreamland,” Sam Quinones humanizes these patients by depicting how powerful opioids lay claim on our nervous systems. Quinones also delves deep into the forces that have driven the epidemic, including pharmaceutical companies’ heavy reliance on barebones research to support the widespread usage of pain meds. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi Paul Kalanithi was an accomplished neurosurgery resident, well on his way to becoming a prominent surgeon-researcher. But, his life plans completely changed when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. In “When Breath Becomes Air,” Kalanithi examines the meaning of life when on the brink of death. Although Kalanithi passed away in 2015, his memory lives on with his beautifully written, insightful memoir. “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” by Henry Marsh In “Do No Harm,” Henry Marsh talks about his life as a neurosurgeon. Aspiring doctors will learn a ton from...

Rheumatology Personal Statement Writing for Foreign Medical Applicants

Writing a personal statement for an application in another country brings on its own set of challenges. This is not something new and a lot of students had to master the art of doing so. It does not make it any easier, but there are some steps you can take to overcome this challenge. Every country has its own procedures and application criteria. Before you start writing your personal statement, you want to study the information of the set country’s personal statement rules. Do not assume that you can do it in the same fashion as you would in your home country. One would believe when it comes to medicine, the rules should remain unchanged. The reason behind the different set of rules is that every country faces its own challenges and needs. When you adhere to this understanding, it becomes easier to master. If I think about rheumatology personal statement writing, the information will be similar, but the format and application thereof will differ. Here are some of the best tips to write a rheumatology personal statement and come out on top. Copy Carefully It is easy to find personal statement samples online for any career, but you want to be careful with that one. You could just copy a sample rheumatology personal statement, but it is going to cost you a lot. Even if you are applying...

Why Sharing Your Medical School Story is Important

This semester, as I endure the long but exciting application process to medical school, I’m taking an upper-level English writing class that is appropriately titled “Writing in the Community.” This course is designed to liberate stories, both within ourselves and within our community. My community placement choice is with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and I hope to have the honor of connecting with pediatric cancer patients to share their stories and give a voice to their fears, joys, worries, and smiles. I think there is immense power in telling stories, especially as I peer into my future career where I will meet people daily that have interesting and important stories to share. One of the reasons I chose to become a physician is to meet people from every background and every situation and get down and dirty with them in their biggest fears, mistakes, worries, and concerns. To get to this point, though, I must be able to effectively share my story and even more importantly, listen to someone else’s story. In a society that is fogged up with noise from ourselves, social media, and a busy schedule, taking the time to stop and listen is an often-neglected skill. In this class, I’ve learned that to tell someone else’s meaningful, honest story, I have to tell mine. Everyone has a story to share, even if it is buried under layers...

Why You Should Pick The Most Competitive Specialty

The first time I was told to pursue a competitive specialty I was dumbfounded. But now two years later, I’m telling you to do the same. To be clear, I’m not arguing we all attempt to be plastic surgeons or dermatologist. Props to those who can stand the OR and/or skin rashes. We just need to get into the mindset as if we trying to be one. This change in mindset has led my CV to go from subpar to top tier! The Difference in Mindset Between Those Who Choose Competitive Specialities: This isn’t true for all but I’ve found a difference between my classmates pursuing Ortho and those knowing they wanted to do primary care. Both groups are insanely smart, but the Ortho bros are more likely to seek out opportunities (research, conference, faculty interactions, etc.) Again not true for both. I know plenty of future primary care docs who are machines in their accomplishments. But the ortho bro knows he needs to be competitive in a competitive specialty. Thus he works hard at getting good grades, doing well on Step 1, excelling on rotations, and also cranking out research results. The pressure of competitiveness pushes them to ask, “what else can I accomplish”. My Own Journey: I haven’t talked much about my own specialty desires on the blog much. It’s not because I’m actively trying to hide it. I just found...

The De-Sciencing of American Medicine and What It Means to You

With all the talk about “evidence-based medicine,” you might think that doctors were becoming much more focused on rigorous science. But like the names attached to bills in Congress—such as the Affordable Care Act, which outlaws affordable insurance, the language used in the movement to fundamentally transform America and American medicine usually means the opposite of what it suggests. Are older doctors uneducated in science, and do they base their treatments on opinion, intuition, or outdated dogma, while younger doctors use objective observations and analysis? Consider the kind of medical student our prestigious medical schools are now seeking. In former years, premeds were notorious nerds, usually science majors, constantly studying to make grades in hard subjects. High scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) required ability for quantitative thinking and a foundation of factual scientific knowledge. Since 2015, the new MCAT includes “situational judgment tests.” The president of the entity that makes the test, Darrell Kirch of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), intends to redefine what makes a good doctor. “I believe it is critical to our future to transform health care. I am not talking about tweaking it. I am talking about true transformation.” Ezekiel Emanuel asks in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, Feb 20, 2018), “Does Medicine Overemphasize IQ?” A high IQ is no guarantee that a physician can “lead a multidisciplinary health team...

Why 3D Printing Could Be the Wave of the Future

We often think of 3D printing as a new technology with futuristic implications, but we rarely stop to consider how far it’s come or where it could be in another few years. 3D printing was invented by Charles Hull in 1984, and in the ensuing 34 years we have developed ways to scan and 3D print objects in real time and have even begun one of the most science-fiction endeavors yet–3D printing human organs. Still, 3D printing has yet to reach its full potential, and that’s a good thing. With everything we’ve achieved and all the breakthroughs still being made, it’s only a matter of time before niche achievements carried out under perfect laboratory conditions become repeatable (and affordable) options for 3D printing hubs across the globe. 3D printers offer us a look at how computer and software technology can create meaningful changes in hardware by revolutionizing the design and physical creation processes. Here’s a look at where 3D printing is in 2018 and where it’s headed in the future. Printing Organs, Saving Lives For a while, the talk of 3D printed body parts was nothing more than theoretical science fiction. Sure, some researchers had figured out how to use a semi-organic material in a 3D printer and had even activated some living cells that replicated on the formed compound to create something like a real liver in a...

3 Effective Time Management and Organizational Tips to Get Your Through Medical School

Chances are you’ve been told that it’s the amount of material you have to master. Perhaps you’ve even heard a graphic metaphor to describe it, such as likening it to drinking out of a fire hose. And what are we told is the key to success when faced with such a Herculean task? Time management. Our own esteemed Katherine Seebald, who is about to join the ranks of the USC Trojans as a medical student this fall — and who, like Hermione Granger, excels at pretty much anything — asked me the following question recently:“What were the three biggest things you learned re: time management and organization that helped you in med school?”By the way, that’s verbatim. On a related note, she and/or I may think and talk in the form of powerpoint slides and Buzzfeed lists. Here’s my answer: 1. Schedule Everything And I do mean everything. Every little thing you do in your day: put it down with a corresponding amount of time. Eating, sleeping, hygiene, working out, watching TV, hanging out with friends—everything. Figure out how much time you need for the activities you love and need, and then make room for them. If you don’t make them a priority, and if you don’t carve out time for them, other obligations will crowd them out, and they just won’t happen. On a related note, you can also group the activities...