TheNotQuiteDoctor's Origin Story

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Long before I was the NotQuiteDoctor, I was the NotQuiteAnything.  I was bumbling through life, leaping at opportunities as they passed.  I had no clue what, or who, I wanted to be.  My interests changed daily as did my life goals.  Finding medicine was a significant thing in my life because for the first time I felt like I had a direction.

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Have you noticed...

The Medicine section of Tumblr Spotlight is not what it could be, folks. I check it from time to time to see if there’s something on there I’m not following and should be. I find lots of dense science articles and gross anatomy pictures, and frankly, I see them and think

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I read textbooks all the time. I get on Tumblr for an escape from that stuff. Where’s the humor? Where’s the application of all that science and anatomy? Where’s the human side of medicine? It’s poorly under-represented on the spotlight, that’s for sure (except for Cranquis—he’s the Spotlight’s saving grace).

SOOO…. let’s improve the Spotlight.  

If you have a favorite medical blog and think it should be featured, please consider recommending it for Tumblr Spotlight. (**Ahem, Shameless plug…**) Just e-mail the Tumblr editors and let them know where the quality is!

I’m not sure how much they take recommendations into account, but it certainly can’t hurt if we flood their inbox with awesome blogs. Hopefully they won’t ignore us.

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I’ve already recommended several awesome medical blogs (who actually post original material that is often hilarious) for the spotlight, so md-admissions, thenotquitedoctor, mylifeismedschool, and baffledinbrooklyn, watch out! Your time in the spotlight is coming!  

So go forth and recommend!

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Style Series #3: THENOTQUITEDOCTOR

I am super thrilled to be partnering with TNQD for this post!

Some of you may have noticed my semi-frequent reblogs about men’s fashion (or maybe you didn’t, I forgive you). Since I am a lady, I can have opinions about menswear, but I can’t claim to have any real life advice because I can’t hear you over the sound of all my beautiful stilettos and wedges and flats and boots and dainty sandals (need I go on?).

TNQD wanted to do a post on formal men’s fashion, a subject which I feel many young men could use some guidance. So, without further ado, the very dashing and fashion-savvy TNQD.

What events were you attending that required you to be all dressed to the nines?

I have lots of events for school that I have to dress up for.  Specifically medical society events.  Recently, I was invited to a party for large hospital/med school donors.  Earlier this year I was asked to be on a committee for student advancement, which is a fancy way of saying “a committee to get more scholarship money.”  I now get invited to mingle with large donors, not necessarily to solicit, but to be an example of the type of medical students we have at our school.

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Where did you get your suits?
All of my suits are under $150 and come from chain retail stores.  I think most of these came from JC Penny’s.  The key to making a cheap suit look good is to get it altered.  You can make a $110 suit look phenomenal with $40 in alterations. 

Where do you get your shoes, shirts, ties etc?

My ties I get all over.  I really dig wembley ties, which is a brand that has been around for a while.  Their ties have a very vintage look.  I also check out vintage shops and thrift stores for ties.  I tend to get my shirts at common retail stores (e.g. places you find at the mall).  The same goes for my shoes.  Botticelli is a brand I like (http://www.botticellishoes.com/shop.php?cat=men) and my black shoes are from Aldo.

The crux of my clothes buying decisions is price.  I love to get good clothes for cheap.  I used to spend more time in thrift shops, but I have less time for that now.  Mostly I try to search out online sales and big mall sales.  You don’t always have to spend a lot to look good.      

How did you decide what shirt/tie/shoes/etc to wear?
I am actually pretty conservative when it comes to mixing and matching clothes.  Some people are venturing into the stripe shirt with plaid ties and all that, but usually I stick to one patterned material at the most.  I don’t know that I have  a decision making process really.  However I always have in mind at least one or two things a shirt/tie can go with before buying it.  I tend to buy things I can mix and match.


What common mistakes do you tend to notice in your peers regarding formal attire?

The mistakes I see most often is underdressing.  What my generation regards as formal and previous generations regard as formal are generally two different things.  I tend to err on the side of overdressing.  It is always easy to roll up some sleeves and slip off a tie if you need to dress down.    


Do you have any specific advice regarding dressing for admissions interviews (med school, residency, internships, etc)?

A resident once told me that you should always stick to black, blue and grey suits for any kind of interview.  Personally, I always stick with black, just because you can never go wrong with black.  You don’t want to seem like you are wearing a tux though, so find a good tie.  At some point in time I read a study that said students wearing yellow ties got into medical school more often than any other color (I don’t know how true that is though, nor could I find the study to cite).  I happened to wear a yellow tie, and I got in, but that is in no way strong evidence (with an N of 1 the study does not have enough power to be significant [that is some serious nerd humor, but I digress]).  I will offer one caveat, don’t get too crazy with the tie.  I have seen applicants come through my school with some terrible ties that I am sure they thought were appropriate.  One guy had an EKG hearth rhythm across his tie.  Do not, I repeat, do not, wear something like that.

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(I have to put in my two cents here and cast my vote more in favor of grey and navy suits for interviews. Love, AspDocs)

What suggestions do you have about business casual attire?

Business casual is probably one of the most widely encompassing terms.  Almost anything- from dark jeans and a nice shirt/tie combo to dress slacks and a button up- can count as business casual.  I think this is where you can really express your own style.  I tend to go with lighter colors when dressing business casual.  Brighter blue or red button-ups with khaki or lighter slacks.  Sometimes I will throw in a tie.  This is where you can get creative and maybe experiment a bit.  I often try shirt/tie combos that I would be less apt to wear in a formal setting.  As far as suggestions I would say two things.  First, shoes can change an entire outfit; get a good pair (or two) of loafers.  I found a good, cheap pair at Payless (something similar to this: http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10376&subCatId=&skuId=098151025&productId=71672&lotId=098151&category=&catdisplayName=Brands).  Even with a tie, button up and slacks, throwing on a more casual loafer can keep you in the business casual realm.  That being said, you can dress up a business casual outfit with the right shoes.  Second, don’t let business casual fool you.  This isn’t really meant to be all that casual.  You still have to think about what messages your outfit sends-  you have more room to play, but make sure your outfit really depicts who you are and what you want people to see in you.      


What do you normally wear to class and why?

For class I usually wear dark jeans or khakis with a plaid button up.  I am particularly fond of pearl snaps and I think many people would associate that with my style.  I also wear a lot of flat caps.  To be honest I dress a bit like an old man (in fact many of my pearl snaps were my great grandfather’s).


Where did your personal style come from?

I have never really considered myself as having a style.  I am very drawn to suit styles of the 1960s and would probably wear anything Don Draper wears.  I think it is easy to become too flamboyant with your style and miss the mark.  When I go to formal events I try to dress in a way that not only shows confidence, but instills confidence.  I want people to see me as someone they can trust, and I think a classic look does that.  Purple suits look great on the right occasion, but nothing will ever out-do a classic black suit with a crisp white shirt.   


Why do/don’t you think what people wear is important?

What you wear is often your first chance to make an impression.  So when I dress I think about how I want people to see me, especially in formal situations.  I want to seem motivated, confident and dependable.  When I pick out suits or get dressed for an event I try to decide if that is what the outfit says about me.  I think when dressing for formal occasions it is good to step out of yourself and reflect on what your outfit says to someone who doesn’t know you.  You never know when you will meet someone who may be important in your life, so why not make the best impression possible?       

Any advice to the masses?

Pocket squares.  I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on those when I wear them to formal events.

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(AspDocs stamp of approval, and I am definitely getting the cute boy some pocket squares if he doesn’t already have some.)


Thanks so much, TNQD!

thenotquitedoctor:

“Doctor, did you see her prom pictures?”

The young woman in the office beamed as she turned her iPhone to show us a group of girls all wearing brightly colored dresses.  ”It was a little skimpier than I would have liked, but she looked beautiful,” her mother continued.

Had you walked in at that moment you wouldn’t have realized that minutes earlier we were discussing advanced directives for the beaming 17-year-old who wore the bit too skimpy dress.  Next week she is going to be evaluated for a clinical trial.  But, as the doctor confided in me after we left the room, she is probably going to die from her cancer.

That is how the whole afternoon went in the oncology clinic.  There was the middle-aged man who had a recurrence of his brain tumor.  The 50-some-year old with renal cancer who decided she was done dealing with chemo and wanted to die comfortably.  The man who had part of his frontal lobe resected and wanted to know when he could wrestle with his young boys again.  Those are just a couple of examples.

I walked out of clinic feeling emotionally drained.  I thought to myself, “is this what my life will be?  Giving people bad news over and over again?  Am I spending all these late nights studying so that some day I will have to be the person telling a 17-year-old she is going to die?”

I wrestled with that thought as I headed home and cooked dinner.  Then I was reminded of something a great doctor once told me.  ”All of the work you are doing is to earn the privilege of being a doctor.”

Privilege.  That is a funny word to assign to a job.  I continued to play his words in my mind…”As a doctor I have been the first person to touch a new life as it was coming into this world.  I have also been the last person to touch someone as they left it.  People entrust their lives to you.  That is the privilege you are working for.”

As I mulled over my day and his advice I realized he was right.  Seeing patients like that, struggling with their impending death, definitely tugged at my heart strings.  But what an honor it was to be part of that.  They trusted me enough to let me be part of that vulnerable and intimate point in their life.  More than that, they put their faith in the fact that the doctor, and I, could somehow help them through it.

I struggle with this part of medicine.  It is hard for me to sequester my emotions.  But I think that doctor was right.  We aren’t working towards just a job.  We are working towards an entire lifestyle.  I won’t have to be the one relinquishing terrible news to my patients.  I will get to be that person. That won’t be my job. That will be my privilege.

I think of things like this every time I’m learning something that I don’t necessarily think will be on the exam… I’m not learning medicine to just pass the course, but to hopefully help someone in the future. They might not know that I slaved over metabolic pathways to try and remember each individual step and how it relates to overall body physiology, but I’ll feel better in myself knowing that i’ve done so, just in case it ever comes up. 

A Little Game

A Tumblr game, if you will.

RULES

  • Rule 1:Always post the rules.

  • Rule 2:Answer the questions the person who tagged you asked and write 5 new ones.

  • Rule 3:Tag 5 people and link them to the post.

  • Rule 4:Actually tell them you tagged them.

QUESTIONS FOR ME

1. Favorite author? Either Augusten Burroughs or Margaret Atwell

2. Country you would alternatively live in? Spain because it is beautiful and I was lucky enough to visit there once and would love to one day get back.

3. A career you would alternatively be immersed in? Chef.  I spent a few years taking culinary classes and actually thought about becoming a chef.

4. Most important role model? My mother.  She has showed me how to face huge obstacles and life changing illness with such grace, dignity, and courage.  She is an incredible woman who I love and admire so much.

5. If you had an opportunity to face an old enemy, what do you think you would say?  I forgive you and thank you for showing me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

NEW QUESTIONS!!!

1. What experience led you to your chosen career path?

2. If you could go back and change one thing in your life what would it be?

3. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?

4. What is your favorite food?

5. Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?

A Sincere Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent kinds words of encouragement over the last week.  I am working my way through my messages/asks and trying to reply to as many as possible.  As far as comments, I read each and every one though I probably won’t have time to reply to all of them.

You guys truly are the best followers I could have ever asked for.  As I come upon two years with this blog (don’t worry, that will be a celebration in itself) I am amazed at how many people have chosen to follow my journey.  I am even more amazed that you care so much.  In my darkest times you are there with the kindest words and truest advice.

I appreciate all of you.

Sincerely,

TNQD

Nursing --> Medical School? (In Rebloggable Format)

Hi ! hope you are having a good day during this hot summer but i have a question. I start classes at my community college in the fall and im majoring in liberal arts then i planned on finishing my Bach. at a uni by majoring in nursing ( and becoming a rn) then going to medical school to become a ob-gyn (my dream job) . But now by reading all of these blogs and such im very confused… am i doing the wrong thing or planning it wrong? help please and thanks for answering in advance.

Well, one person asked both me and thenotquitedoctor a similar question recently. I said nursing school was a great idea, but he brought up some very good points to consider.

Nursing school looks good in that it gives you lots of clinical experience.  However, pretty much everyone I know who went to medical school with a background in nursing actually worked as a nurse for a few years before going to med school, so they had several years’ worth of clinical experience to put on their application. That’s different than what you’d get from just going to nursing school. Plus, nursing clinicals don’t leave much time open for extracurricular activities, volunteering, and shadowing doctors. 

Going straight from nursing school to medical school may not be the greatest idea. Nursing programs don’t require all the classes that you need to be pre-med, so if you are a med school hopeful in nursing school, you’ll have to take extra classes.  It’s do-able, I’m sure, but why make your path any harder than it has to be? Pre med classes are hard enough as it is. Do you want to deal with that plus nursing classes?

Then you have to factor in trying to study for the MCAT while doing nursing clinicals (which would be rough). 

I can’t make your decision for you. Just weigh your options. Do you really want to be a nurse, or are you doing nursing school because you think it will look good on an application? 

I’ve said it before—don’t do anything because it will look good on an application. Do things that you are interested in. I tried to be a chemistry major because I thought it would separate me from the sea of biology majors applying to med school. But I HATED chemistry and I loved biology. When I switched majors, life got much happier. Don’t study something that you aren’t interested in using for the rest of your life (in case med school doesn’t pan out).

If you want to be a nurse, be a nurse. If you aren’t interested, find a different major. 

I was tagged by lovekayleenicole
The rules are-

1) You answer these 11 questions

2) You write 11 new questions
 for the people you tag
3) You tag 11 people

4) You tell these 11 people that you’ve tagged them

1. What is your favorite quote?
“I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference in the world.”
2. What is your greatest achievement so far?
Oh geez, I should say something medical related, but really it’s getting my wedding planned all by myself.
3. What is your worst work trait?
I’m so much of a perfectionist that I often don’t get things finished because I want them to be perfect
4. What is your best work trait?
I never shy from a challenge.
5. If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?
The president
6. What is your number one place you want to visit?
Paris
7. What do you want to be when you are done with school?
A kick ass pediatrician
8. What is your favorite tv show?
Grey’s Anatomy
9. What is your most embarrassing story?
This one time, at band camp…well actually it was my first band competition…I got really sick and ended up vomiting right in front of the concession stands.
10. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would rather have been born a witch, muggle life is overrated.
11. What is your favorite hobby?
Crocheting

My questions are:
1. If you could only eat one kind of cookie for the rest of your life what would it be?
2. You are stuck on a deserted island, complete with sharks and a boat destroying laser barrier, and you can only bring one thing. What is it?
3. You are a super villain, what is your go-to weapon?
4. You work at a major pharmaceutical company and invent a new weight loss drug, what overly complicated name do you give it?
5. As an undergrad working in a lab, you are bitten by a genetically mutated mouse, what superpower do you get?
6. What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day off?
7. You’ve been accepted to Hogwarts, what animal do you bring?
8. Favorite kind of penguin, and why?
9. Your two favorite X-men have a child, what mutant power does said child have?
10. We all know Whinny the Pooh characters remind us of psych disorders. A new friend moves to the hundred acre woods, describe him/her so we can all figure out the diagnosis.
11. All water fountains now dispense an alcoholic beverage, what is it?

I’ll tag thenotquitedoctor beyondtheoath randommomentsdevida thecraftypremed miss-metrodora benmapz captainmudphud aspiringdoctors wayfaringmd pleasedotheneedful and you, yes you, you are reading this now so tagged you be!

New Projects

Anonymous words are important.  They allow you to express yourself without fear of criticism or rejection.  However, they also lack something.  Perhaps anonymous words are less weighted words because you cannot see who wields them.  Even more so, anonymous words are things that can be used without care, being thrown haphazardly out into the world with no second thought.  While my anonymous words are important to myself, and to some faithful readers, it is time to grow up a little bit. 

I have begun work on a blogging network (you will see why I use the word network in a second) that will out me as a medical student and hopeful author.  I plan to write honestly, and perhaps a bit more hesitantly, about how I think healthcare can be made better.  I feel that if I lend my face and identity to my words it will carry more weight, allow criticisms from outside sources and perhaps connect me to people who share similar ideas.  It will also allow me to reveal my work, as sort of a portfolio, to those I wish to write for later (i.e. magazines, news papers, journals, etc.).  Most importantly I hope to share ideas that I think are important in a way that is digestible for the average reader.

I once feared all of the content I had online.  What if someday I become a more public figure?  What if a boss finds it and disagrees with my work?  What if I eventually regret all of my views from today?  While those may be valid concerns I feel like they aren’t likely to be the case if I publish everything under my identity from the start.  As a friend who works in the computer industry just told me: there are two types of data, what people can see about you and what you wish people couldn’t see about you.  In the end if someone has the money/power and motivation everything you have ever posted is available.

With that in mind I am planning a pre-emptive strike.  Rather than worry about my online identity being unearthed, why not push myself out there, almost as a brand.  I am creating a more professional facebook that I am not afraid to share with future employers.  I am creating a personal page so that if someone searches my name the first thing they will see is my CV.  And, for the first time, I will blog non-anonymously.  

Except for on here.

That’s right, nothing here will change.  I will still write as TNQD.  I have never been embarrassed of what I post here, but it is easier for me to be honest if I remain anonymous.  For example, I can honestly post about my test scores, relationship issues, friendships and school without fear that girlfriends, classmates or even enemies will gain access to such information (or at least that it won’t be easy).  My new blogs will be less personal anecdotes and more researched.  One blog will focus on utilization of healthcare and how better physical exams and diagnostic skills could help to reduce healthcare costs for many individuals.  The second blog will be a differential diagnosis of sorts.  But it will be a differential for issues in U.S. healthcare ranging from reimbursements on Medicaid to known biases and inequalities in healthcare delivery to inadequacies in education.  These will be tied together by a personal blog that will more or less highlight my current projects in research, education and graduate school (MPH).

These blogs will be written through Tumblr, so you will be able to read them if you wish.  I am sure some of you will want links so you can subscribe; unfortunately I don’t plan to provide them.  I don’t want anything to officially tie my name to this blog.  However, for those reading between the lines, you now have the topics of my blogs and a good description of what they will be like.  I will also ask some of the medblrs I trust to help me promote them.  They won’t have the stamp of: made by TNQD on them, but I think you will be able to put two-and-two together.

Nothing is published yet.  However, I have bought the domains and I am currently in the design phase.

TNQD is important to me.  It allows me an outlet and provides me with much needed moral support (from my amazing readers).  I won’t stop posting here.  However, I will begin posting more professional work on these new sites.  I hope you find them as interesting as this blog.

All the best,

TNQD 

What will you do with this tumblr after you’ve become The So Quite Doctor?

That is a great question, and one that I contemplate a lot.  I know for sure that I will not continue writing under the alias of TheNotQuiteDoctor after I finish school (which is in three years, so don’t worry just yet).  What I have contemplated is looking for an up-and-coming pre-med or first year med student to take my place.

I have lots of ideas for this blog and things I would like to do with it in the next 3 years.  I eventually want it to be a resource where people can get good information about applying to med school.  But as you know the world rapidly changes and in a couple years the majority of what I know about getting into med school will be obsolete.  There is a new MCAT coming in 2015, schools have been changing how they interview and changing how they assess and accept students.  Soon my advice will be no good.

So the questions that have been in my mind are: how do I entice someone to take over the blog and when should I bring someone new in?  

I guess I still have 3 years to figure that out.

Yours for now,

TNQD

P.S. I do plan to begin a new blog when I graduate.  I feel it will be appropriate to start a new blog to document a new chapter in my life.  And maybe that was really what you were getting at when you asked the question. 

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