Advice to incoming MS3s
Third year is officially over for me, which is BONKERS.
Some quick words of wisdom:
- Start using UWorld with every rotation. I know, you thought you were free. You were wrong.
- Have at least 2 white coats and wash with bleach once a week, don’t be nasty.
- An ipad mini fits in most white coat pockets. You will have lots of snippets of time- 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there- to study.
- Always ask if there is anything you can do to help the team before you sit and study.
- Your scheduled leaving time is not concrete. Especially on wards. Don’t hang your hat on ‘4pm’ if that is when your syllabus says you are supposed to leave. It’s more like ‘around 4pm’.
- However the residents are busy and will often forget to dismiss you when you’ve served your usefulness for the day. Find the right words that include asking if there is anything else that you can do to help the team, and if not asking if you can go home to study for the shelf. YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO STUDY FOR THE SHELF.
- Find out on day 1 and with every new team what is expected of you. This will lead to less heartbreak later (ex: team 1 told me that xyz was ok. When team 2 came at the start of the month I asked about xyz and that was NOT kosher with this team and we never recovered. True life story).
- Schedule internal medicine or family medicine last, so the broad shelf review can double as Step 2 review.
- Schedule surgery rotation when the weather is gross. At least you won’t be missing anything when you’re inside from 5am-5pm or later.
- Avoid rotating on inpatient peds during January if you can. It’s the busiest and worst month for peds wards.
- You will get either a nasty upper respiratory infection or a hideous gastrointestinal bug on peds. It happens to everyone.
- Emma Holliday Ramahi has SUPER CLUTCH lectures/powerpoints for internal medicine, surgery, peds, and psych. If you know her stuff cold you will be a-ok on the shelf exams.
- Pestana Surgery Review is also great for the shelf and being pimped.
- Surgeons are always late. You are late if you are on time. Always be early on surgery unless you were scrubbed in a case.
- There is no good guide to study for the neuro shelf, but I used Blueprints and Casefiles and UWorld and I passed.
- For family medicine, join AAFP and register for their qbank (it takes a week or so to verify your account so do it early in the rotation).
- For ob-gyn the best qbank was APGO. Free for students and I felt the comprehensive quizzes prepared me for the shelf.
- Blueprints and Case Files were what I used for shelf exams and I passed all of them, but everyone has different resources so just use what you like.
- ALWAYS HAVE SNACKS YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SNACKS ON YOU AT ONE TIME SAVE A LIFE.
- Have multiple pens. A pen is a precious resource in the hospital.
- If you can, cut back on your caffeine intake before third year, because you’ll need it to do something for you this year.
- It is definitely possible to get at least 7 hours of sleep on non-call nights, but you have to cut pretty much everything else out.
- Take one day a week off from shelf studying for the love of tacos.
- Basic food prep ahead of time is massively helpful.
- Good luck going to the doctor or dentist (unless it’s an acute thing) tho, it’s kind of garbage.
- Do yourself a favor and put your full rotation schedule, rotation lectures and locations and random quizzes/assignment due dates in your organizer of choice the first day of the rotation.
- Forgive the interns, their lives are pretty shitty and that will be you in 24 or less months.
- Stick up for your fellow med students.
- You have more time than anyone on your service. Spend time with the patients. See if the nurses will show you how to draw labs.
- Sometimes you will be stuck with scut work. Scut work sucks but it usually is something that helps the residents and you always want to help the residents.
AND Here is my Basics for Wards series, hopefully it will be helpful to you.