A List Of Do’s and Don’ts for Your Summer Break

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe more appropriately, at the middle of the tunnel. Your one and only summer break, between first and second year. And to think, this might be your “last” summer. The last one until retirement that you could choose to spend kicking your feet up, watching Netflix, sleeping in, and traveling incessantly. Haven’t you earned it after the most academically rigorous year of your life? The angel on your shoulder chimes in: Look at all this time you’ve got! Time to do research, to get published. Time to make inroads with faculty and participate in community outreach projects and global health initiatives. Time to study undisturbed and set yourself up for second-year success. Only a fool would squander such an opportunity! Surely a compromise must exist…. To put things in perspective, let me give you full disclosure: Like most normal humans, I love having fun, often as much fun as possible. And, like most normal medical professionals, I like succeeding, advancing, and perennially trying to be the best. Can these two forces be reconciled? Yes, they can, as you will find below. Let’s go through some of the DOs and DON’Ts of this rare and magnificent summer break between first and second year: DON’T try to start studying aggressively for Step 1. This coming from a USMLE prep-driven blog? What...

How to Increase Your Chances of a Residency as an International Medical Graduate

Business fields like marketing, HR and finance consider international learning and job experience as a major advantage working in the favor of aspiring candidates, however, this doesn’t hold true in the healthcare industry. If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG), then the chances of reserving a spot in US residency programs is lower than a typical US graduate due to a number of reasons. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot take steps to make a good competitor. The key is to master IMG matching. Here are some clinical residency matching tips for IMGs: Before Applying Formulate strategy and goals Make a practical strategy that is based on facts and statistics. For instance, if you take a really long time to finish the USMLE steps, your chances of getting in an accredited or preferred residency program will go down. High scores will increase your chances of an early match. Choose your specialty and continue building your resume to increase your chances of acceptance. Choose Your Specialty Sensibly What specialty you choose determines if you get an interview or call for a residency match. Some preferred specialties for IMGs based on the historical data include: Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics. Specialties, where your chances are low, are: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anesthesiology, Orthopedic surgery. However, if you have extremely high scores and superb clinical skill sets, you can expect...

Medical Students Graduate Under Transformative National Curricula Redesign Initiative

CHICAGO — With five medical schools this year graduating their first classes of students fully trained under a transformative national curricula redesign initiative, the American Medical Association (AMA) is highlighting innovations from recent years that have better trained the next generation of physicians. Launched five years ago, the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium includes 32 of the country’s leading medical schools working together to create the medical school of the future. The first medical students to graduate after receiving full training using the Consortium’s innovative curricula include, NYU School of Medicine, Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, and Penn State College of Medicine. These schools were among the 11 founding medical schools to receive $1 million AMA grants to develop curricula to reimagine medical education and join the AMA Consortium. “Through our work over the past five years, we have made significant progress in a short amount of time toward ensuring future physicians are prepared to meet the needs of patients in the modern health system,” said AMA CEO & Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D. “Today, the foundation we created is producing real results through the trail-blazing advancements in medical education developed by the Consortium. These future physicians will be better equipped to provide care in a practice environment of rapid progress, new...

Three Things To Remember When Studying for the MCAT

Studying for the MCAT is truly a marathon, and there are great challenges if you approach this exam like a sprint. I began my MCAT preparation in January of this year, and after waves of triumph and defeat, I had to reevaluate how I was studying and the mindset I had towards doing well. This is because marathons are not as easily affected by things like mindset, weather conditions, opponent capabilities. These are the qualms of a sprint – the short-term, rapid onset of results. Approaching the MCAT must be steadier and more constant than this. You have to be resistant to waves of triumph and defeat, flexible in your training, and open-minded. While I’ve learned a lot about science while preparing for this exam, I’ve learned even more about myself. Be flexible to change. This is applicable to anyone preparing for an exam or in school. I had strategically planned exactly how I would study, when, where, and what content. I learned early on that the way I had designed was not the most suitable way for my learning and that I was worried more about marking something off my checklist than actually reviewing and learning the material. So, you must be open about changing your study plan and constantly reevaluating if what you are doing is most suitable for you. For me, this meant transitioning from mostly...

How Teleconferencing Is Being Used Treat Mental Health Patients

Due to a shortage of psychiatrists in the healthcare service, doctors are trying new and innovative ways of providing their patients with the support they need. This can be a challenge since certain factors such as the location of the patient and the doctor make it impossible for patients to get the medical care and psychological counseling they need. To solve this problem, Michele Casoli-Reardon, MD, of Arcadian Telepsychiatry, has come up with a new way of getting assessments and treating patients. This new technology being used makes it easy for patients to consult with their doctors regardless of their physical location. The new teleconferencing technology also makes it easy to set appointments for sessions at times that previously would have been unlikely. The patient also does not need to travel to the hospital or healthcare center for each session. Telepsychiatry is also covered by most health insurance, which improves access to mental health services. The only downside at the moment when it comes to telepsychiatry is that in many states in the US, both the doctor and the patient have to be present in the same state for it to be legal. The good news is, some of those laws are being amended for the benefit of those in need of psychiatric care so that they can get the therapy they need. The field of psychiatry is constantly changing,...

On Traveling as a Medical Student

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustav Flaubert My biggest regret about traveling as a medical student is really not traveling as much as I wanted, or at the very least, traveling much at all. I went to college in New York City and barely made it downtown, or explored the other boroughs. My best friend in college diagnosed herself with “the travel bug” and she took her environmental lectures in Brazil because we had the opportunity to do so. At the time, I found it difficult to go abroad with a full schedule of the college requirements in addition to the pre-medical classes with labs. In hindsight, it may have seemed more difficult that it was. But, I’m sure I could have found a way to do it. Now, I strongly feel traveling is an important part of my education. Whenever I have an excuse to explore a new place, I do whether it be spring break, a holiday on Monday, or just the weekend. While trips can be costly for students, I would say it is worth every penny. For one, it is refreshing and necessary to leave the same campus, same people, same city for a change of scenery. It is also incredibly humbling to learn how people live. I visited Cape Town, South Africa during my...

The Importance of Psychiatry to Medical Students

“Psychiatry is the art of teaching people how to stand on their own feet while reclining on chairs.” – Sigmund Freud After hours of combing through the Internet, I finally laid eyes on this quote that most aptly defines my perception of psychiatry after having rotated in the specialty as a medical student for a mere three weeks. I distinctly remember my first morning as I walked through those double-locked doors on the 14th floor. I can still feel the reverberations of those barrier-like monstrosities shutting behind me as I hurried into the unit. I was apprehensive, no doubt about it, as I found myself under lock and key in the psychiatric ward for the first time in my life. As I searched for my phone in the blind-ending pockets of my white coat to check if I was on time for orientation, I heard someone exclaim “Good morning!” leaving me almost stunned by the unexpected familiarity. As I looked up, I saw a patient with yellow headphones on his head, holding a book and greeting me with a smile. And let me tell you, that was the first of many such greetings. Curious to find out what brought him here, I spontaneously rushed to find the resident and ask him. Obviously, someone this happy and upbeat couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with them now could they? To my...