It’s finals week/hell week and everyone is stressing out about exams and papers. Word of advice: stay positive!
Looming exams are always frightening, but don’t let that get in the way of motivation. Braving it through thick and thin always makes the end so much sweeter. (Also, I suggest studying as if your exam will be essay only, not multiple choice - you learn better that way).
Go into the exam knowing you know what you know (does that even make sense?)
Don’t over think on questions. Your gut instinct, and your first choice, is almost always the correct answer (on multiple choice exams).
And when you’re done, you’re done!
There’s no need to brood over what could have been, and should have been. You tried your best and if it didn’t go so well, you can learn from your mistakes. Things can sometimes seem really bad at the moment, but it always gets better. And whatever happens, probably happens for a reason anyway. And now you can relax!
It’s finals week/hell week and everyone is stressing out about exams and papers. Word of advice: stay positive!
Hello Dr.! As Christmas season is coming up, what sort of gifts would you recommend to help improve the well-being and life-enjoyment of a pediatric resident? She loves to read and enjoys beauty products, so I’ve considered a few books (I wouldn’t mind some more recommendations) and hand creams (to soothe that constantly sanitized skin), but I was wondering what other ways I could help make her life a little less stressful? Thanks so much!
What a terrific question! I’m gonna ask my medical Cranquistadors to please add their own suggestions to this post (since I usually just buy whatever was rated the highest on the other person’s Amazon wish list, BOOM finished, moving on).
But for what it’s worth, Dr. Cranquis would consider these Potential Holiday Gifts for Residents (and Med Students too!):
- Books: healthcare-related books (memoirs, fictionalized, history, political, etc.) are an obvious choice, and you’ll find quite a few recommendations from me (and from Cranquistadors!) in my #books tag. As for non-healthcare-books, that depends on your knowledge of your friend’s tastes — and whether you think that receiving a “just for fun” book will just rub salt in their wounds as they reminisce about the days when they actually had time to read something that didn’t have Latin anatomic terms in it. :)
- Media (movies, music, Netflix subscriptions, etc.): Sometimes all your numbed post-call brain can handle is a few hours of Battlestar Galactica or Monty Python. (Or maybe they can watch ‘em while they’re ON call, if their call-karma is way better than mine ever was.)
- Gift Cards/Cash: Most med students and residents live on a combo of loan money/paltry stipends + gifts from friends and family. Gift cards to coffee shops, bookstores, shoe stores, big-box stores, and good old Amazon are fantastic! Even a roll of small bills for vending machines will make a resident smile. Don’t worry about the “But giving money is so impersonal” argument — they will appreciate it and USE it.
- On-Call Hygiene Products: Travel-size personal grooming-kit items (or an entire kit, if you want to go all out) are so handy when you’re doing all your grooming in the hospital! Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going at 4 in the morning (the Dead Zone between admitting the last patient and starting pre-rounds on all the other patients) is two minutes in the bathroom to brush your teeth and apply another layer of deodorant.
- Drugs: (No, not THAT kind of drugs). Despite working in a hospital, residents who need pain relievers/anti-histamines/gas-reducers/antacids for personal use are usually out of luck! Toss a few handy OTC meds into that grooming kit.
- Mugs: You can never have enough (spill-proof, easy-to-carry/clean) containers for hot stimulating beverages.
- Pens: Yeah, yeah, we’re all “paperless” and “electronic” in healthcare now. Whatever — our clinic printer goes through more paper now than it ever used to before EMR. So pens are ALWAYS needed by/being stolen away from students and residents. Find out if they prefer the “click” (YES!) or “uncap/twist” (BOOO!) style. Only buy black pens (medical records have to be in dark color ink, and some facilities don’t allow even blue). No felt-tips (can’t write through carbon-copy forms). No fancy/engraved/expensive/meaningful pens (didn’t I mention these things get stolen all the time?). But not super-cheap-crappy ones (it’s considered bad luck to have your pen die in the middle of a call-night) (not really) (well maybe NOW it is).
- Phone plug-ins (micro USB or Apple whatevers) or emergency quick-chargers: Having your smart-phone die while on call is like getting a surprise lobotomy. Anything which can prevent/remedy that situation is priceless!
- Subscriptions to medical reference websites/apps (maybe): Some residency/med-school programs provide these for free, so check with your recipient before dropping $100+ on a subscription to Epocrates, Up to Date, etc.
- Diploma Frames: Help them look ahead to the glorious day when all that they’ll have to show for these years of toil and tears is a really nice piece of paper and a sizable financial debt (well, and a lot of knowledge/skills, of course.)
- Plane Tickets: Just in case your gift-giving budget is REALLY loaded. But be sure to either discuss the travel dates WAY ahead of time, or buy tickets with simple no-fees exchange/refund policies.
Hope that helps. Oh, and just for kicks, a few things which the average resident/student (probably) does NOT need/want for Christmas:
- Scrubs: Either they already own enough, the hospital provides them, or they won’t dare to wear that uber-nice set you gave them around actual patients.
- Medical Equipment: Exceptions exist, but for the most part, they already have a couple of functional stetho/oto/ophtho-scopes, and more tuning forks than the New York Philarmonic. However, if they plan to work in mission fields/under-served areas, extra equipment is ALWAYS needed.
- Textbooks/Reference Books: They need to pick what works for them, without feeling guilted into carrying around that deluxe copy of Gray’s Anatomy (the book) you gave ‘em. If you really want to contribute to their medical reference library, talk it over with them first (or go with a gift certificate to a bookstore).
- Phone card with a passive-aggressive “Try calling me more often next year” note: Med school is hard. Residency is hard. Right now, they need your support and your permission to focus on surviving, not your demands.
Any other to-give (or to-avoid) ideas, Medblr folks?
— Nelson Mandela
You are so young and oh so naive but just you wait, life will teach you a lesson.
I hate hate HATE the condescension from people who work in healthcare department who would say this to me.
You know what? If I am ever gonna wake up one morning and I realize that patients are just numbers and that ideas for better ways how to provide care for sick people is just a form of naivety…
that my friends will be the day I will quit working as a doctor.
The day when I realize I don´t have my own opinions based on my experience, that I am too afraid to swim against that damned current, that I gave in to harmful pressure from anybody, that is the day I will quit.
Till that day I shall stay young and naive and hopeful for this pursuit of being the best fricking doctor I can be.
Now with less anger and passion, I am well aware that a good doctor needs to be also a good manager. I know that it´s money and pharmaceutical companies which rule the healthcare system basically everywhere in the world. I know there is a system which does not work in favor for the lesser man.
My job is to understand this system and learn how to cheat it. To give support and care for those in need because if this is not our goal why are we even fricking study all this shit for?
People, especially older people, who have years and years working in this system keeps telling me that I am young and naive and you know what? I am. It keeps me going, this naive optimism that yes I can make a small change but change nonetheless.
I don´t know what happened to them. And that shit scares me. Am I gonna end up like that in ten, twenty years? Beat up by the system which I so desperately wanna change?
Is this the what awaits me in my future as a doctor? regret and cynicism?
I am afraid that I am gonna be a bad doctor and a bitch for the pharmacompanies. That I am not gonna be the physician I wanna be because I just won´t have any other choice.
I am afraid of this because I see it every day.
So far I keep swimming against the current, I keep being sharp, and helpful and true to my patients. And people around me. I am trying to be the best me I can be.
Young, naive and forever optimistic.
Rachel Pugh: Could studying the arts provide the cultural shift that medics need to deal better with patients and avoid scandals such as Mid Staffs
An interesting and thought-provoking article, the subject…
- Drink coffee
- Draw, draw, draw
- Eat a cookie
What I look forward to when I get home from school: my chocolate chip cookies and Nutella.
Anonymous asked: Hi, I'm a freshman in college and inspiring to be a pediatrician and was wondering what I should major in to help with my dream to become a doctor? And can you put some insight on college life, the MCAT, and medical school? Sorry if this any bother.
Hey there Anon!
No bother at all, free free to ask away!
There is not set major you need to choose in college in order to go to medical school. The real key is to major in something that genuinely interests you, and that you would love to learn - be it English literature, music, biology, or mathematics. As a freshmen, you still have time to think about it (usually you get to declare a major around sophomore year). However, you do need to take the pre-med classes and pre-requisites for med school (the pre-med adviser can advice you on those, but generally you need to take biology (with lab), 2 semesters of general chemistry (with lab), 2 semesters of organic chemistry (with lab), 2 semesters of physics with lab), an English class, and a math class. Depending on the med school you want to attend (near the time of applications, you should look carefully at the websites of each school that interests you) they might also require you to take biochemistry. So basically, as long as you take your pre-med classes, you can major in anything you want! Take some elective classes first to see if you would like to continue that subject.
Personally, I majored in Biology, minored in English, and took some extra Health and Nutrition Science classes. I would have majored or double-majored in English, but as a freshmen, I saw on a chemistry major brochure some statistics that showed that the majority of students accepted into medical school are those who major in biology and chemistry and at the time I thought, man, I really need to do whatever I can to get accepted, so I’ll just major in Biology. The truth is - it doesn’t matter, and med schools truly do like well-rounded students. (I ended up getting a Master’s in English Literature before coming to med school), and I’m an aspiring pediatrician as well (and maybe some kind of science-writer/author/journalist).
College life is great, and you should make the most out of it. Study skills and how to balance time are important (and it takes a while to figure out what works best for you, since not everyone works in the same way). It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed out at times (some stress is good for you). Good grades are important, but also important is to remember to have fun, relax, take some fun classes/cores/electives - just remember to balance it all - everything should be in moderation. College is a time when you’ll meet new friends, and it’s always hard at first, because of change, and perhaps you’re away from home, but some of the friends you make will be for a lifetime. Join the clubs/sports teams that you’re interested in, and volunteer your time at a hospital/medical-related place, since it’s needed for your med school apps. You might also want to shadow a doctor, and do some internships. If you’re into research, find a professor at your school whose work seems cool, and ask if you could help out in their lab. Here’s a recent post I wrote, and I think most of my pre-med posts are tagged “(Pre)-Med 101” so you can search that.
Oh the good ole MCAT - the dreaded nightmare of all pre-med students. You should check up on the AAMC website starting Junior year, or the Summer of Sophomore year, but from 2015 the MCAT is changing: according to the website now, it says:
- Natural sciences sections of the MCAT2015 exam reflect recent changes in medical education.
- Addition of the social and behavioral sciences section, Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior, recognizes the importance of socio-cultural and behavioral determinants of health and health outcomes.
- And the new Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section reflects the fact that medical schools want well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds.
So see, they want well-rounded applicants! You should also take some intro classes in Psychology and/or Sociology. Most people take the MCAT near the end of their Junior year, and if needed, take it again beginning of Senior year. You start your AMCAS summer of Junior year in order to begin med school after you graduate college. But as always, things don’t work our perfectly for most people because, well, life happens. It’s up to you to stay on top of your game.
Once you’re in med school, you realize how much more tougher everything is than college. A day’s lecture of cell bio might be something you would do in 2 weeks in college. You don’t have much time for anything else, but it’s always about time management, really. You usually take 2 years of basic sciences in med school, then take the USMLE Step 1. 3rd and 4th years are clinical years. You take Step 2 during 4th year. And after you graduate, you go on to a residency program!
Those are the basics - you still have plenty of time to think and have fun, dear Anon! But feel free to keep in touch :)
Grades and exams do not define us, but are simply checks on clinical competence.
Reblog for relevance.
"A Muggle’s Guide to Med School" by ZDoggMD
Anonymous asked: Hi, I'm currently a senior Physical Therapy student. I'm having problems with school lately. It's like, I'm not happy with the course I'm with. I'm planning to pursue Medical School after 5 years as a pre-requisite. I should've taken up nursing instead. The slow pace in physical therapy really bores me. I want to be in a fast pace like in E.R or O.R. Word of advice?
Hi there Anon,
Do you mean that you are taking the pre-requisites now for medical school, and will be applying in 5 years? Sorry, I’m not quite sure why you should have gone into nursing either if you ultimately want to go to med school - neither physical therapy nor nursing are pre-reqs for med schools. If you’re an undergraduate, you just need to pick a major and take the pre-reqs. Your major can be anything you want - have fun and learn something you really want to, along with the sciences, be it literature or music.
Forgive me if I’m not getting your details right. But once you are in med school, you’ll be doing rotations in everything, and you can choose later to specialize and do your residency in say, the Pediatric Emergency Room. But perhaps, it’s just one class you are taking now that you are not enjoying? Or is it the whole physical therapy idea? But if you’re a senior, I’d say finish it up since you’ve worked so hard for it. And then maybe if you have time, volunteer at an ER at a hospital near you - check out all that goes on there and see if it’s something you really like - and if applying to med school, they like to see some volunteering hours anyway.
There are other jobs in the ER and OR too, besides doctors. Like the EMTs that bring patients in, nurses, scribes and other folks. ERMedicine is a pre-med student that works in the ER - he can’t exactly tell you what he does there, but I’m sure he can tell you about life in the ER. Also, Keeping Faith in EMS is an EMT and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind giving you advice either.
But if pursuing medical school is your main goal, then I say take your pre-reqs, finish your current classes (take breaks from studying, study in groups, come up with creative ideas to have fun while studying so it’s not a total bore), explore the options of volunteering and shadowing, and have fun!
I hope I answered your questions, somewhat. If not, feel free to clarify and ask me again!
Med schools should provide their med students with free coffee and free lunches. And some kind of free “maid” service where they clean your room and do the laundry for you. Because you know, after all, students are paying the school with every organ in their thoracic cavity anyway. And they need all the help they can get to eat and sleep properly.
Every tear drops,
bouncing off the floor
hoping to sprout new roots,
new trees, new dreams.
Like how a tree grows in Brooklyn.
A tear for every patient, for family,
for time, for exams, for sleep,
A tree that wants to grow up,
to learn, to heal, to help.
The salt in the tears will want to destroy,
but the water is what sustains growth,
Exams on the computer? Why?! Whatever happened to good old fashioned exams on PAPER? So much easier on the eyes, the brain, and just overall.
— Dr. Perri Klass, A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student (via medicaljourney)
- “The suffering itself is not so bad; it’s the resentment against suffering that is the real pain.”— Allen Ginsberg
- sibling normalryMe:do u want nething?D:nah, i'm all set thanksMe:ok great. bc this gives me time to list my laundry list of Christmas wants. just kidding.... ...
themedicalchronicles said:My condolences for the deaths, but that person will NOT be you! You can make it through!!!
I guess I am...