By Nalini Juthani
On a bright early morning while getting ready for work, suddenly, something went “Swoosh” in my head. I saw double and felt dizzy with eyes open. Horrified, I returned back to my bed. In a few moments I began to play out various scenarios in my mind. Each potential diagnosis that flashed in front of me had an ominous outcome although my mind was clear. I woke up my husband, a physician, who examined me and said “I am calling our neurosurgeon neighbor”. It was a remarkable Friday when the world seemed to be crashing down on me.
I was a 40-year-old, happily married doctor with three loving young children. Our family had just moved into a new home. I was also enjoying a successful academic career. I wanted to live. I was simply afraid to die!Read More »
By Justin D. Triemstra
Those two words can bring back a fountain of emotions for physicians. For some, excitement and thrill. For others, anxiety or sorrow. But for most, a significant financial burden during a time of limited income. A recent discussion with a fourth year medical student reminded me of this important, yet under-recognized dilemma. One that can affect the geographical diversity of residency classes and increase disparities for students coming from low resource settings.
Since 1952, The Match has placed medical students into residency training programs. In 2017, 43,157 registrants entered The Match with 31,757 filled positions. To obtain a filled position, many students attend a significant number of interviews with the mean number of interviews attended at 12 for matched applications in 2017.1 Each interview adds to the financial burden for students with recent studies in Emergency Medicine reporting an estimated cost per trip to be about $350.2,3 With an average number of interviews attended at 12, we estimate an average medical student will spend $4200 during interview season; a significant burden for a non-salaried trainee and a number that is likely much higher for a significant number of applicants.
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By Kamran M. Mirza
I am no stranger to disseminating information to a group of individuals junior to me. As a resident and fellow, I have taught many medical students in a classroom setting. As I think back to these sessions now, I find that they were all in a setting where the student’s presence was mandatory; a review session, a laboratory etc. Nevertheless, my love for teaching grew in those sessions. My passion for novel pedagogical approaches to pathology education led me to seek a faculty position. I felt that there was so much I could try and achieve. I was very excited to become pathology faculty. What a great honor. I couldn’t wait to meet my students.
Last fall, as I walked in to my first lecture, I found a half-empty classroom. Rows upon rows of…. no one. Who will be the beneficiaries of my innovative theoretical pedagogy? This was even more unusual since the lecture in question is one of the first three lectures of the M2 curriculum, typically scheduled for the first day! In the few years I have been teaching this course, I always found the entire class showing up for Day 1.Read More »
By Emily Green
Anyone who advises medical students about USMLE Step 1 will be familiar with the metaphor of “closing doors”. Upon receiving their Step 1 score, worried students wonder if the sound they are hearing is the slamming shut of gateways to particular specialties. The problem with the pervasive “closing doors” metaphor is that it presents career options as being either available or unavailable, with little in-between. In a student’s mind, a score of 240 might mean that the door to a particular career is open, but a 239 means that it is closed. Convincing students the wrongness of this thinking is a challenge.Read More »
By J.M. Monica van de Ridder
Teaching is something that I have been doing for over 20 years. So, in general, I don’t worry about it. I think I know what works and does not work.
Things were very different for me this time. I was worried, and I felt very much out of my ‘comfort zone’ almost in my ‘panic zone’ (Brown, 2008; Palethorpe & Wilson, 2011). I had developed an intersession for M1 and M2 medical students on how to optimize their learning processes in the clinical setting through goal setting, self-regulation, receiving and seeking feedback. The content on feedback I am familiar with, from goal-setting and self-regulation, -I assume- I know more than average.
I tried to discover my fears. What is worrying me?Read More »
By Tim Lahey
Every March I run the last required course at our medical school. It’s a three-week-long, 47-hour sprint – a sort of boot camp for professional formation. We polish clinical skills, revisit foundational sciences, let students pick from a menu of interesting tutorials, and discuss professional formation.
Students grapple with hypothetical gastrointestinal crises on scatalogically-named student teams. They resuscitate rubbery patients with various flavors of hypotension. I don a sparkly red bowtie to MC a game show called Antibiotic Jeopardy.
Throughout, we discuss the evolution of their professional identities. I ask how their idealism has changed during medical school, and every year over 60% say it has waned. We share the stories that shape us, and how they can stay true to the values that brought them to medical school in the first place. Then they hand in a tall stack of confidential essays that I reply to on nights and weekends right up until the day they speak the Hippocratic Oath. Read More »
By Adrian K. Reynolds
Over the past few months, I’ve been on a quest to answer this one question: How does my mission to create opportunities for students to develop self-regulated, active learning1,2 skills support diversity and inclusion?
In this quest to raise my level of critical consciousness3, or, in my African American Vernacular English, to “stay woke”, I’ve asked, how do the learning opportunities I’ve provided for students foster a culture of inclusion for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, origin, language, ability, or political beliefs? Well, I thought to myself, as a Black male teacher of Spanish in the K-12 school system, then later as a college instructor of English as a Second Language (ESL), and now as an academic enhancement specialist in the medical school setting, the learning opportunities I’ve created for students from all walks of life have, I believe, reflected meaningful contributions to building a culture of diversity and inclusion. Not being completely satisfied with this response, I continued along the path of critical self-reflection. Read More »
by Zarna Patel
I cannot find the right words to describe how it felt when I read news: “School shooting at High School in Southeastern Florida.” Despite the 239 school shootings since Sandy Hook, nothing can prepare you for the numbness of having it happen in your hometown. The way your heart leaps into your throat, the way all sound is muted, the way debilitating fear takes hold from your head to your toes.
“Are you OK? Tell me you’re OK?! Please answer me!” Never in a million years did I think I would have to send a text like that to my 16-year-old cousin, whose biggest worry last weekend was her upcoming SAT test.
Knowing how many innocent children would never return to their parent’s arms that night was paralyzing. I couldn’t close my eyes for more than a few minutes before flashes of my old high school haunted my dreams. The large courtyard we ate lunch in, smeared in blood. The freshman building we loved to hate, filled with kids running away, hand raised. The large auditorium where I spent four years performing, now filled with the cries of distraught children.
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By Michelle Sergi
Coming out of my first year of medical school I struggled with my sense of confidence. After endless nights of studying, a multitude of experiences at our Clinical Training and Assessment Center, and specialized clinical experiences, I felt that I could take on the challenge of counseling patients. On the other hand, when I thought about being on my own to take care of patients, I was terrified. My pharmacology knowledge was insufficient, and even though I knew how to conduct a full physical exam, did I really know what was normal compared to abnormal? These questions proved to me that I lacked the clinical experience necessary to become a good physician.
When I heard of the opportunity to apply for the Leroy Rogers Preceptorship, I immediately knew that it could help bridge the gap between my medical textbooks and clinical knowledge. This program gives preclinical students the opportunity to choose a preceptor for a four week, hands-on family medicine clinical experience. I had shadowed a family physician, Dr. Andrews, in my hometown several times before so I knew he would be the perfect preceptor. I also felt that I would learn from his patients, especially because many are medically underserved.Read More »
By Hedy S. Wald
Take two Tootsie Rolls and call me in the morning. Self-prescribed for sweet tooth me. Not such a blasphemous “drug of choice” (I’m not even using caffeine!) but it’s New Year’s, that infamous time of resolutions. And I’d like to “kick the habit,” do all that stuff the nutritionist advised and ramp up the gym visits. Jogged 2 miles and took a 1/2 mile swim today to start the new year “right” – hopefully burned off the chocolate high. Fueled by endorphins and feeling oh so optimistic, I’m writing this blog. The question is – what happens on January 2?
The ongoing effort to implement and sustain behavior change has given me a profound appreciation for some of the struggles our patients (and even our colleagues and students) endure. Harnessing motivation can be tough and self-flagellation for not following through can make it tougher . . . this is where some self-compassion with an attitude of kindness and acceptance toward ourselves may make a difference (1). Self-compassion can promote self-improvement motivation given that it encourages us to confront mistakes or weaknesses without either self-deprecation or defensive self-enhancement. (2) According to Breines and Chen, “resolving to make changes can be scary, as roadblocks and setbacks are inevitable along the way. From a self-compassionate perspective, however, there is less to fear.” (2)
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