advice to med students

the dos and don’ts of first year med.

Recently, I got a question from @party-shaker about being a first-year meddie and surviving.

Let me tell you about my first-year self. I failed my first exam. Not ‘failed’ as in ‘I only got eighty percent’, I ‘failed’ as in ‘bottom of my class, warning letter from the faculty’ failed. First year med is tough. The content is new, you constantly feel like you’re not good enough and you have no idea what you’re doing, and everyone seems smarter than you.

But I got my act together, and got some really good grades by the end of the semester. Mind you, I made a lot of mistakes in the process. Here’s my dos and don’ts of first year med.

DO get adequate sleep.

DON’T trade sleep for studying. Early in my med school career, I had an anatomy tutor who petrified me. In order to learn everything, I would sleep at 10pm, wake at midnight, study until 4am, and sleep until 6am. I was able to answer some questions in the tutes, but I recall none of that anatomy now.

DO find out how you learn. Mind maps, flash cards, bright colours, lists. Do what works for you and don’t listen to anyone else.

DON’T skip class. Yes, the lecturer may be boring and you may be tired. But you’ll have a head start on your learning by going, and the lecturers write the exams.

DO ask questions.

DON’T assume everyone else knows the answers. They don’t.

DO spend time every day revising. Even ten minutes pays off in the long run.

DON’T cram. In fact, you can’t cram medicine. I tried cramming for my six years in med school – I can guarantee that it doesn’t work.

DO have breaks. Run, walk, see your friends, get some Vitamin D. Being stuck in your study or library all day will inevitably drive you crazy.

DO make a study group. You’ll learn more and make friends. It’s win win.

DON’T be competitive. Don’t tear other meddies down or humiliate them. Be nice to other students, help them, but don’t put them down. Not only is it mean, but medicine’s a small world. The kid you were mean to in med school will not refer you patients when they’re a consultant.

Even if you do everything on this list, you will still be tired most days. You will still have moments where you feel like you can’t make it. But this will hopefully stave off burnout and keep you loving what you do for longer.

I get a ton of messages basically asking the same question: How do I make myself the best applicant to medical school I can be?

1. Most imporantly: Do everything in your power to be a well rounded applicant
- Pick a major your interested, does NOT have to be a science major!

– Just because you want to be a doctor or work in healthcare doesn’t mean only science topics interest you! You can be an art major and still take all the courses required for premed. Ex. I did anthropology and Psychology, I have premed friend who were engineering and music majors. 

- Volunteer in the community with organizations that you are passionate about, NOT just ones that look good on an application

– These should be diverse but should be things you are passionate about, if you get more out of planting trees than volunteering in a hospital gift shop, thats okay! Volunteer in different groups and organizations, some should be medically related but they don’t all have to be! Showing a commitment to life long service doesn’t just mean in medicine. 

- Shadow: different fields of medicine and not just doctors, look into dentistry, nursing, psychology, social work –> figure out what type of healthcare provider you want to be. Contacting people may seem scary but it never hurts to ask, look for positions available, write them an email talking about the strengths and skills you have, maybe you don’t have a lot of experience but you can still be a fast learner and hard worker! 

- Research: if this seems boring to you, find someone researching something you’re interested in so you will actually enjoy it! I appreciated the results of research but always thought working in it would be boring and it was just another thing I had to do to put on my application. I was very WRONG! I found something lab researching a topic I was interested and it consumed me, I now have a greater understanding research and how fun it can be exploring a hypothesis! 

- Extracurricular: again do what your are passionate about, everything does not have to be about medicine, different life experiences teach you different life lessons. I learned different things from being VP of my Doctor Who club vs.  in my medical internship vs. being a ski instructor! 

- Study hard: create study groups, find tutors or be a tutor! If you are struggling in a class, study groups are shown to be a very effective way of studying, or spend the money on getting a tutor because it will be worth it in the end. When you are struggling in a class, especially a premed class, it can be a good time to reflect on whether this is a career for you. Being a doctor means a lifetime of learning, school, and tests. Seriously look into other career you might be interested in, its okay to change your mind about medical school, there are other careers in medicine, or other professions you might enjoy more. Everything in life takes hard work, its finding what you can endlessly work hard for. General Chemistry made me seriously look at whether of not this was the right path for me. After some serious self reflection, there was nothing else I could work this hard for. 

- Time management: Managing work, school, social life and everything else can be hard, don’t take on too much, figure out your limits, remember to ask for help when you need it and to take care of yourself. If you push yourself too hard you will break, we are not invincible. Its okay to say no, to take time for yourself!

Keep a detailed resume of all your actives, exact dates of when they started and ended, who to contact about them and a detailed summary of what you did and what you learned form your experiences! This will help you immensely when filling out your AMCAS 

If your application isn’t perfect or not very well rounded (lacking in areas), I highly recommend taking time off to fill those gaps. The biggest reason people who apply straight out of college don’t get in, even with great applications is maturity level. You may think, I am adult, I am mature! But just because you can act professionally doesn’t mean you are mature. The maturity they are looking for is achieved through life experiences. Many college kids really haven’t had much life experiences other that college, what adversities have you overcome, do you even really know who you are yet outside of your college experience. 

I have take two years off, even though I had a pretty good application before, it has only become stronger and I have lived life, I thought I knew who I was before but I really had explored that until I was out of college on my own.   

Optional: Take time off before applying (Recommended)
- Gaining more life experiences: Maybe move to a new place or Travel 

- Get a Masters Degree: this can help boost your GPA if it is not competitive 

- Work: doesn’t have to be in medicine but if you lack hand-on patient experiences than this is great opportunity to chance that! If you have never worked a job, than I highly recommend taking time off and working for a living to experience what its like to pay your own bills

- Learn about who you are: this will help you appear more mature when interviewing and make you more confident 

The Process of Applying 

- Competitive MCAT Score: you don’t have to pay for a course, do what works best for you. I believe the examkracker books were most helpful, Kaplan tend to have the hardest BS and PS practice test but Examkrackers is the best for VR. If you don’t do well the first time, figure out what went wrong and retake it! Learn from this experience because your future in medicine will require many more standardized tests so figuring out how to best prepare for them now will help you in the future! 

- Picking Medical Schools: pick 15 schools, have a few reach schools and a few back up school and then the rest ones you can reasonably get into. Take into account their curriculums, locations and if you are thinking about a competitive speciality look at the what residencies their students are matching! If you are interested in research, or rural care, looks at schools that over special programs for these paths. 

- Letters of Rec/Committee Letter: hopefully in college you made meaningful relationships with professors you had (you should definitely do this!), you will need a science class professor letter of rec, if you did research you will need one from your PI, if you worked with a doctor for an extended period ask them to write you one or if you worked with a volunteer organization for a long period.  Write them a nice letter in why you are asking them, provide them with your resume and all the information they need to know as well as where to send it to. Its okay to send emails reminding them to write it, they are busy people and reminding them shows it is important to you. Also figure out if your school offers a committee letter and be diligent about keeping up on every thing you need to do for it. 

Primary Application AMCAS

- Personal statement- make it personal, talk about experiences that have lead you hear today, but most importantly what you learned from them. This is about you, WHY YOU? vs. everybody else who is applying. This is a Persuasive essay! 

- Academic Record- make sure to request you transcripts to be sent as soon as possible so AMCAS can verify them quickly 

- 15 Activities - out of everything you have done you have to pick the 15 most important activities you have done and briefly talk about them. Then you get to pick three that were most important 

Secondaries 

- Strong Essays- These are your chance to show again why you!? highlight your strengths when you can, make sure they are concise and well written free of grammatical errors. Ask friends to read them over for you. 

- Resume - Remember that detailed resume I told you to about keeping! Many schools allow you to upload addition documents like a resume! Now beyond your 15 they have a list of all the actives you have ever done and what you have learned from them! 

- Headshot- passport photo size, 2 x 2 inches. Dress profession, SMILE, only should show show just below the shoulder and up. Remember this is their first glimpse of you, putting the face together with your application! 

- Research abstract - if you did research, make sure to have a document with just your abstract to upload if the offer additional documents area. 

Interviewing

1. Practice - Practice answering interview questions, use examples, highlight your strengths! Try limiting your answer to two to 3 minute: look up “Elevator Speech” - pitch to the ceo a great idea on an elevator ride of only 4 floors! 

2. Reading - the more you read the smarter you are! Reads books about doctors and their experiences, how to apply to medical school, affordable healthcare act, current events, current events in medicine, NIH, read papers on tough ethical topics, read papers published by people from that school, read everything you can on their schools website! Schedule a mock interview, video record yourself answering questions. 

3. What to wear -
Females - professional fitted pants suit or suit with skirt no more than an inch about knees with skin tone matching stockings. flats or heels no more than 2 inches high, make sure you can walk all day in them. simple jewelry, studs and a necklace, no more than one ring on each hang. nothing big and distracting. suite should be black, navy, or gray. Blouse or profession top not showing cleavage. If you hair is long wear it back. Make up, light. You don’t want anything distracting from what you’re saying!
Males- Well fitted suit, tie (safer) or bow-tie, pick a professional one that is not busy looking or distracting. Suit color: black, navy or gray. business professional shoes. Belt and shoe color must match. 

Don’t wear fragrances (but wear deodorant!), bring a briefcase or similar size professional purse or professional folder (just need something to hold business cards and papers). Look well manicured make sure nails are trimmed and neutral colors only. 

Remember to be professional, have a firm handshake, ask them for their business card at the end to write them a handwritten thank you letter. Sit up straight, smile, be you, and don’t forget its a conversation so don’t be over rehearse your answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say “I honestly don’t know the answer to that”. Come up with a list of your 3 strengths and weakness and examples of each as well as what you are doing to work on your weaknesses. 

Good luck! One day your hard work will pay off, there will be bumps along the way but each one will teach you something and bring you closer to your dream of going to medical school! 

anonymous asked:

How can I enhance my chances of getting into med school??

There are quite a few ways.

Let me pass along a couple of articles that you should seriously consider reading:

6 reasons why applicants fail to get into medical school

How to get into medical school

Getting into medical school

Hope this helps you out some! 

Remember to not let the stress get the best of you. Keep a clear and determined mind and you will be fine!

anonymous asked:

what advice do you have for partners of med students? how can we be supportive?

I love this question because I’ve both been the med student and the partner to a med student! 

So as a former med student now doctor I can tell you: 

>We’re busy. We basically have full time (or overtime) jobs and are full time students. Please don’t make us feel guilty. But also remind us to walk away from the books and spend time outside or with the people who love us. We want to do it, we just need the push.

>We’re forgetful. We have 18 things going through our heads at the same time – so if you remember to stop and pick up the bread we were supposed to be three days ago, you’ll be our hero. 

>We’re stressed out. We’ll learn not to take it out on you. Sometimes we’ll fuck up and forget that you’re awesome and say something we don’t mean. Forgive us. 

>We’re excited about medicine. Sometimes we’ll talk about it ad nauseam. Listen for a bit, and then shut us up and remind us to ask you about your day or to talk about the life outside the hospital. 

>We’re emotionally exhausted. Sometimes we give 100% of what we have to strangers. We care and care and care until there’s nothing left to come home with. Remind us not to do that. Remind us that we have people who need us here too and we need to save some of what we have for them. 

And as the soon to be spouse of a doctor:

>You must be independent. Have things you like to do alone or with other friends. Sometimes your schedules won’t line up and you’ll have to do that thing you wanted to do together alone. 

>You must make small moments big. Wednesday night is the only night you’re both home for more than 4 hours – guess when date night happens?! 

>You’ll learn about new “couple time”. Spending time together is taking a nap together or running and errand or sitting in the same room together studying. 

>You’ll learn to pick up the slack. If it means running an extra errand or doing more than your fair share of the cleaning. 

>You’ll learn to speak up. If your partner is being selfish and forgetting you, chances are they don’t even realize they’re doing it. SAY SOMETHING. 

The biggest thing I’ve found as someone in a “two-doctor-relationship” is that on any given day, the balance is almost never 50-50. Sometimes it’s 90-10 and sometimes it’s 10-90. Sometimes it’s 60-40 or 20-80. But you’re doing a lot of switching off about who is doing the “work” of living depending on who’s busier that day or that week. Be flexible and never resent doing more than what seems fair – because the tables will turn entirely the next day and your partner will be cleaning up after you. 

Really – there are only two really good things I know about relationships and those things are communicate and be ready to give 80% sometimes to make up for all the times you give 20%.

Advice for empathic or sensitive med students:

A couple months ago one of my patients committed suicide. Since I was rotating on the psych wing (which to be honest should be the only wing I rotate on but that’s a whole different mess) I was assigned to him from the moment he arrived at the hospital. After being hospitalized and after creating an arguably deep rapport he was released from the hospital. He would call me every day and ask if I could see him as a fixed psychologist. Since I do not have a license yet nor I intend to play off like I do I told him I would be willing to listen to him and give him support as a friend. This was one of my biggest mistakes. The mistake wasn’t making offering friendship, the mistake was offering a friendship to someone who viewed me as their care taker. Because that’s how we met. I broke the professional bond. I made myself Play a double role. And despite the fact he was no longer hospitalized, he continued to seek my professional help rather than seek me out as a friend. He confided in me. I listened. One day I was on a long shift and I was unavailable to speak to him for over 72 hours. Within those 72 hours he messaged me about how he felt suicidal and he must have thought I was ignoring him. He most of felt very lonely. He ended up commiting suicide. I felt very responsible for him. It’s been very hard to forgive myself.


My advice:

When you go to the hospital you should be prepared for the worst. Some times you’ll be the last one to speak to a dying cancer patient, sometimes you’ll have to break the news to the family, sometimes you will see children cry because they are terminally ill, you will see patients fighting to stay alive and you will hear patients screaming in pain.

Med school often doesn’t prepare you for this but you MUST disconnect. I’m not saying you must be apathetic but you shouldn’t take this all back home. This is in no way your fault.

Psychiatrics must be prepared to take on an environment where patients are suicidal, homicidal, hallucinating and highly dangerous.

Sometimes you’ll have long shifts and see things that will genuinely make you want to drop out or quit and you must be prepared. Meditate before your shift. Get a good night of rest. Get support from fellow students and remind yourself that you are not a magician. You cannot save everyone’s life.

Never give out your personal information or offer help to your patients outside the hospital or clinic. While his one is obvious, sometimes (like me) you just really want to help and avoid saying no. But hey, don’t sweat it! They can always visit on your shifts.

anonymous asked:

I got my first residency interview, any tips?

1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is the best piece of advice you will find on this list. 

2. Make your interview outfit memorable. Don’t be crazy – stick with the traditional suit – but be creative with your accessories. 

3. review these questions you might be asked

4. Make your own list of questions to ask your interviewers. Because you’re gonna get the “do you have any questions for me” question a million times.

5. Know the program - know what their strengths are and ask about how they’re improving their weaknesses. Look at their website the night before so you can re-familiarize yourself and come up with some possible questions.

6. Don’t get drunk at the interview dinner. This should be common sense, and yet there is a need for me to write it… If the residents who take you out are drinking, then it’s safe for you to drink too. If they’re not drinking, stick to non alcoholic beverages for the night. 

7. If the interview is in a city you’re not familiar with, do a dry run the night before. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Being late to an interview (even in family medicine!) is an unforgivable sin.

8. Ask the residents what they would like to see improved on in their program. That will clue you in to weaknesses the administration might not know about. 

9. Assess the residents. Do they look happy (like legit happy, not fake-for-interviewees-happy)? Are they friendly with their attendings, or is there a hard divide between attendings and residents? Do they look exhausted? Do they seem like they get along well? Are they friends with each other? 

10. Tour the town. Take an extra day in your top sites if you can. Check out the real estate and the fun stuff and the schools and the job opportunities for your significant other. You’re not just interviewing for a job. You’re interviewing to move to a new place for the next 3-7 years of your life. Better like the place you’re moving to. 

If you think you can only do this job by having a perfectly rounded acceptance of all the shit in your life and also a complete understanding of the pain of your patients before you can help them with theirs, then dream on
— 

Professor Tanya Byron, ‘The Skeleton Cupboard’

A reminder from an excellent book I’m reading at the moment: you don’t have to have the perfect life and have all your shit together to be able to help people. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea of being these invincible, omnipotent super-beings - can’t stop, can’t fail, can’t make mistakes. But it’s okay to be vulnerable, to be imperfect, to take time for yourself. It doesn’t make you a failure. We are only human.

Patient Presentations Part I - Organization is Key

One thing I have struggled with during my clinical years is the patient presentation.  Sometimes I am told I include too much information, sometimes not enough.  After tons of feedback, advice from residents/fellows, and much trial and error I have come up with a method that seems to work well for patient me.  Obviously you can’t please everyone, but I find that this is a good starting point.  I wanted to share my method with all of you who may also struggle with presenting patients.

There are three components to my system: the SOAP format, creating single statements for each component of your presentation, and writing down more thorough data incase you are asked. So what does that look like? Well, like this:

Each morning I print out a rounding report, then fold it over and organize my presentation.  This also helps me organize my thoughts and has made me a better student clinician.  

At the top of each page I write a summary statement, in the format of:

 Age + Ethnicity + Gender + Past Medical History + Admit Date + Chief Concern and/or Diagnosis

Starting with a statement like this helps to orient the team and I to the patient.  You should only include the past medical history and risk factors that pertain to the current problem (we don’t need to know that there is a history of toe fungus or a tonsillectomy when the patient was 7, unless, of course, it is pertinent to the current problem).  When presenting, you can connect the above information into a quick patient summary.  Examples might include:

- This is Mr. Smith, a 48 y.o. WM w/PMH of CML and alcohol dependence who was admitted on the 17th with progressive abdominal pain

- This is Mrs. Jones, a 32 y.o. AAW w/PMH of sarcoidosis who presented for symptomatic bradycardia

- This is Mr. Johnson, a 69 y.o. Native American male w/PMH of CAD s/p CABG in 2003, HTN, HLD, DMII and a 40 pack year smoking history who presented for unstable angina

So that is starting the presentation.  See the next 4 parts for the rest.

anonymous asked:

I want to become a surgeon, idk about the field of surgery rn but it's something i've wanted to do forever. What are the steps to become a sugeon? What major do i have to take? And how long will it take? Thanks!

Becoming a surgeon requires 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school and 4-8 years of specialized residency training.

  1. Get your bachelor’s: Choose the right undergraduate major for medical school
  2. Take the MCAT: Prepare for the MCAT Exam
  3. Complete Medical School
  4. Complete a Residency Program
  5. Get Licensed (USMLE)
  6. Choose a field/specialization

Other Resources:

Steps to Become a Doctor: Education and Career Roadmap

Surgeon Education Steps

How to Become a Doctor or a Surgeon
Basics for the Wards: Ob-gyn H&P

**NOTE: The field of ob-gyn is geared toward people with uteruses, and the things that can happen with ‘female anatomy’. In this post, the most common ob-gyn patient is a person with a uterus who identifies as a woman and that is the language used. I understand that not everyone with a uterus is a woman, and that not every woman has a uterus. Trans and nonbinary folks do come to ob’s for care, and I would hope all healthcare providers will respect every patient’s preferred pronouns and identity. 

*** ALSO this post was mostly written by Baby Dragon (future ob extraordinaire) over my feeble attempt.

In Ob-gyn there is a lot: from routine ob-gyn notes to specifically ob/L&D notes. This post we’re going to start with a general ob-gyn H&P for a non-pregnant patient.

HPI: What brings her in today? We want everything when establishing care, not just the lady stuff! Do not get lady-parts tunnel-vision!  Ex: Mrs. Hernandez is a 31-yo F who presents to establish care after moving to the area, and she would like to discuss switching from birth control pills to an IUD.

PMH/PSH: We do a general medical history. OBs are frequently PCPs, and the easiest way to piss off an obgyn is by forgetting that the patient has high blood pressure/diabetes/seizures/asthma. Those are crucial. Those kill people. More so than asking specifically about infertility or fibroids, honestly, because those are things folks remember or come specifically to address. It’s the general health that gets forgotten. This also includes history of overnight hospitalizations and if they’ve had anesthesia. Otherwise you’re getting “I got a cavity filled once, does that count?” Last Pap smear? Vaccination status: when did they last get immunizations? Colonoscopy if in the age range?

Regular periods can mean “duration 12 days, every 3 months.” It’s like saying vital signs stable, in that the very abnormal death is also very stable. (I’ve been burned before!) Ask “every month, how many days, how many pads per day, pain interfering with your daily life, is there bleeding between periods, any changes in the last 6 months.

Ask how many times she has been pregnant and how many living children she has had. If the number of pregnancies and the number of living children do not match, you need to find out why. This can be a sensitive subject for many women, for some they have had multiple miscarriages or a stillbirth and those lost pregnancies still hurt; some have had abortions and may feel fear of being judged for their choices.

Most commonly her pregnancy history will be abbreviated G#P#, where G stands for gravidity/number of pregnancies and P stands for parity/number of births. You can get into other abbreviations for abortions, preterm deliveries, term deliveries, and living children but most docs I’ve worked with have not asked for these unless it was relevant to the patient (more relevant for ob notes).  Ex: She is a G3P3 with no chronic medical conditions, regular periods, and no surgical history. 

Meds: MAKE SURE YOU FIND OUT ALL MEDICINES, PRESCRIPTION AND OVER THE COUNTER, THAT SHE IS TAKING! So many meds are immediately off the table when a patient becomes pregnant- ibuprofen, decongestants, warfarin, many diabetes and hypertension meds, most psych meds. Be sure to emphasize the importance of taking prenatal vitamins- if she is struggling with nausea, suggest taking them at a time of day when she isn’t nauseous like right before bed. There are gummy prenatals, or if the pill is solid and too big she can break it in half (I break my prenatals in half and take them at night because the iron and fish oil made my morning nausea 100x worse) Ex: She takes Clartitin and a multivitamin.

Allergies: What is she allergic to and what happens? Ex: She has seasonal allergies, no known drug allergies.

FH: For family history, on top of the other things, be sure to ask about if anyone in her family has had breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, etc. Be sure to note any presence of those three in first degree relatives with ages. Our concerns are BRCA and Lynch, HNPCC a little too. Ex: Her maternal grandmother died from breast cancer at the age of 65.

SH: Who does she live with? What does she do for a living? Sexual history is crucial here- is she active, what about orientation and previous partners. I always preface asking about sexual history with something like, “Here at the ob-gyn’s we’re very interested in your sexual health and history, so some of the questions may feel invasive, but they are important for us to know so we can give you the best care for your particular needs.” Smoking history is important because of the risks associated with birth control pills and adverse effects on any pregnancies. Be sure to ask about alcohol use and illicit substance use. Ex: She lives with her husband and children, and she works part time as an ER nurse. She is sexually active with her husband, using birth control pills for contraception. She smoked for two years but quit when she started nursing school 10 years ago, she has a glass of wine with dinner occasionally, and she does not use illicit substances.

ROS: Always do a thorough head to toe review of systems, but be sure to ask about recent periods or things that might be pertinent to her chief complaint. Especially ask endocrine questions- we’re keeping an ear out for thyroid pathology and PCOS, but overall endocrine is sneaky and requires constant vigilance. Ex: She denies fatigue, weigh gain/loss, trouble concentrating, headaches, fevers, vision changes, sinus congestion, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, unusual vaginal discharge, dyspareunia, dysuria, rashes, musculoskeletal pain or weakness.

Physical exam: Focused physical. A general heart/lungs/abdomen/extremities is more high yield for a med student because residents will and should take the lead on breast/pelvic. (Annual breast/pelvics are inconclusive from a therapeutic perspective, honestly. More for covering our own asses and building rapport than diagnosis.) Med students need to focus on the big picture explicitly, because we often forget the forest of overall patient health when we’re too worried about their cervix to notice their 3+ bilateral edema. I’ve already seen all the MS3 make this mistake, it’s pretty shocking from the other side. Ex: Cranial nerves grossly intact, regular S1/S2 with no murmurs, lungs clear bilaterally with no wheezes, belly soft and nontender with active bowel sounds, skin clear of lesions, pelvic exam showed normal vagina and cervix with no lesions, no masses were palpated.

Assessment/plan: This is the wrap-up. What are you going to do now? Ex: This is a healthy 31 yo G3P3 with no significant medical history who presents to clinic to establish care and discuss contraception. Currently taking birth control pills, discussed birth control pills vs IUD risks and benefits; she has no contraindications to placement, and is scheduled to return in 2 weeks for placement of a Mirena.

Advice to Med Students: How To Impress a Resident/Attending (The Patient Care Episode)

Since a lot of you are about to start the clinical part of your training, and I’m about to get med students for the first time, I figured I’d put together a little how-to (in 3 episodes) with the help of my fellow residents.

  • Take initiative with your patients. Know all their info: what meds they’re on, their labs, their histories, etc.
  • Check back on your patients in the afternoon. Follow their labs or tests done during the day and think about what needs to be done about them. Otherwise you’ll find that a ton of stuff has happened the next day and you’ll be out of the loop. 
  • Have your notes written before the resident rounds so they can read them and hopefully give you feedback on them.
  • Always attempt to write an assessment and plan on your notes, no matter how simple it is. “Continue current management” is usually not an acceptable plan. What needs to be done before this patient can go home? 
  • In surgery, always ask permission (preferably from the attending) to scrub in. I do this still as a resident. If they say yes, get your gloves and gown for the scrub tech because they’re probably not prepared for you. 
  • Ask to do procedures, but don’t expect to get them. The residents are always first in line. If it’s a procedure they’re confident doing and they have time to teach you, they’ll probably let you do it. 
  • If we ask if you want to do a procedure, always say yes. Even if you don’t want to. 
  • In the outpatient setting, always offer to help write the note. Rarely will a resident turn you down, and you will really help them out. They will still review and change it, but it will definitely help.
  • Be available. You don’t have to be a shadow, but don’t expect your resident to call you for admissions/procedures/check out, because she will forget. If you haven’t heard from the resident in a while, check back in with them. She may have forgotten you were around and might send you home early!
Finals, 1st year med student perspective

The final exam session is coming soon. Recently I have realised that my idea of revising material and getting organised is not very effective as I failed one of my semi-final anatomy tests. This made me think about slightly changing my attitude and system I work in.

A very important aspect of revising is to make up a study plan in which you’ll put all of your activities so you won’t need to figure it all out from the very beginning each day. I have done some research and the following videos turned out to be the most informative and helpful:

https://youtu.be/H9XFLqJ0Xb8

https://youtu.be/CUbeQ7Q3s2Q

Be sure to watch them, those people really know what they are doing.

I’m aware that there are tons of study schedule/revision 101 posts here on tumblr. They are great, with all those cute paper planners, smoothies etc. From my own experience, I just want to emphasise that organising your work is a step to help you achieve the goal, but it is not the goal itself. It is very easy to loose control and spend too much time for making schedules, review plans or study playlists. Those things are important but keep them simple and focus on your real goal.

Here are just some reminders for all of you (yes, and myself too):

  • Make sure, that the amount of work you plan for each day is possible to get done. This is hard, I’m still learning how to do it but it gets better.


  • Balance is very important too, so make sure you go outside, eat or work out a little bit. Don’t trick yourself that you have no time to eat or go out for a walk. Those activities, study breaks are crucial and they count as studying because you are preparing yourself for the next study session, which will be more efficient this way.


  • Don’t be afraid to talk to a friend if you feel overwhelmed or anxious, reach for some professional help if it’s possible. Caring about your mental health is never a waste of time!


  • Finally, failure is not the end of the world. Really, been there done that. Sadly, I have learned all those things from my past as I’ve done all of them wrong. You should genuinely believe that there is a solution to every problem. You will fail from time to time during your academic struggle anyways. Take your time, reevaluate things, maybe take different approach and you finally will reach your goal.
Advice for M2s?

So recently I wrote a post with some of my best tidbits of advice for incoming M1s, but as a soon-to-be M2, I’m wondering if the other lovely medblrs may have pearls of wisdom to share about how to survive your 2nd year. Comments, thoughts, cautionary tales?

I must admit I’m slightly anxious about this year simply because of boards (aka s**t is about to get real), but I’m also excited because we finally get to learn physical exams and will taking exclusively systems-based courses!

anonymous asked:

Best medical schools of 2015?

Here they are according to U.S. News:

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of California - San Francisco
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Washington University in St. LouisYale
  • UniversityColumbia University
  • Duke University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Chicago
  • University of California - Los Angeles
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • University of California - San Diego
  • Cornell University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Northwestern University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • New York University
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Emory University
  • Mayo Medical School
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • University of Iowa
  • Boston University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Colorado - Denver
  • University of Florida
  • Georgetown University
Advice to (First Year) Med Students: Survival Tips
  • get some butcher paper and draw out the giant biochemical pathway chart with everything all interconnected. Hang it on your wall and stare at it for 15 minutes every day until you can see it behind closed eyes. 
  • dedicate a few t-shirts that you are “so over” to cadaver lab. Your good clothes will appreciate it. Goodwill scrubs are also excellent for this. 
  • Keep reading

    How to Impress a Resident / Attending (the Respect Episode)
    • Even residents who were gunners hate other gunners. So just don’t be one. If the resident tells you to go home at 4:30, for heaven’s sake, go home. They probably have run out of things to teach you for the day, and they have work they need to get done with peace and quiet. If they tell you to leave, they’re not going to rat you out for leaving early. 
    • Get to know your resident as much as you can. Don’t take up work time, but when there’s downtime, don’t disappear immediately. Have a conversation. 
    • Stay out of the way. This will be hard to do because you will always feel like you’re in the way. I still feel like I’m in the way as a resident.
    • If there are no chairs available and a nurse, attending, or resident needs one, you are expected to give yours up. This is something I still practice, and it weirds me out when nurses offer me their chairs. 
    • Don’t steal the resident or attending’s computer. And don’t log them out. 
    • Don’t misrepresent yourself to your patients. They should understand that you are not a doctor yet. 
    • Be a team player. Don’t fight other students for procedures or throw them under the bus. If we perceive that you are trying to tear down your fellow students, our opinion of you will automatically fall. Help other students when they’re slammed. Remember, attendings are looking for good things to say about you in a letter of rec, and programs love residents who are easy to work with.
    • Don’t try to teach your resident. We already know you’re smarter than we are. You’re closer to step 1 than we are. But we have plenty to teach you. 
    • Ask your residents for advice about residency applications, clerkships, whatever. It’s flattering to us. 
    How to Impress a Resident / Attending (the Scholary Episode)
    • Don’t ask a thousand questions. If your question can be answered easily with an app, Epocrates that mess. Ex: Is vancomycin metabolized renally or hepatically? 
    • Ask some questions. Show the resident that you are at least minimally interested in learning. You don’t have to love the subject, but at least ask questions pertinent to your patient’s care or your eventual specialty. When I’m with a surgeon, I don’t ask her which retractors she prefers for bowel cases, but I do ask her what the indications for surgery for peripheral vascular disease are, because I’ll have to refer those patients to her. 
    • Be seen reading. You could read the same article 50 times for all we care. We’re probably not checking the titles. But we do want to see you reading. 
    • Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. People will pimp you until you get a question wrong, so don’t feel like you’re a failure if you say you don’t know. We’re trying to assess your knowledge base so we don’t teach stuff you already know. 
    • Fourth years: if you’re doing a sub-I or “tryout” rotation, ask them at the very beginning what is expected of a student. Their expectations may be drastically different than at your program.
    • Ask the back up to teach you if the intern is busy. Likely, the upper level has more free time available and the intern is already super stressed out trying to get stuff done. 
    • Read up on your patients’ conditions. If the attending pimps the resident and they don’t know the answer, they’re asking you next. 
    Advice to Med Students: Rank List edition, pt 1.

    So far, that hasn’t happened for her, and I imagine it hasn’t happened for many of you. I had my own little rank list crisis last year (btw, I matched my first ranked program, but I won’t tell which of those two it was), so I totally understand the frustration and the worries and fears associated with making this list that will determine the course of your next 3-7 years. 

    So here’s a little advice to consider in your decision making:

    Keep reading