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 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 Shoshana B. Weiner
“4 ounces water every mile, half an electrolyte ‘gu’ pack over 2.5 miles, ¼ energy bar every 6 miles.” AKA how did you manage training for a marathon while in medical school? The simple truth: I decided to run a marathon so I did. Longer story: months of rigorous training, more moments of doubt than I care to recall, and insights already positively impacting my medical training.
Training for and running a marathon is a time-intensive commitment of physical and mental endurance. Age-old lessons of “you can accomplish anything you set your mind to; hard work pays off” hold true and gained new meaning for me. Read More »
By David Johnson
Recently, the Association of American Medical Colleges announced that for the first time ever women comprised the majority of matriculants into US medical school programs. This triggered a few thoughts of my own.
In 2017, I debuted my Twitter account focusing on the history of medical regulation. In the fall of that year, I shared several historical snippets focusing on women in medical regulation. In one I focused on a regulatory trailblazer: Adele Hutchinson, MD, a graduate of Boston University who appears to have been the first woman to serve on a state medical board anywhere in the United States. This occurred surprisingly early–in Minnesota in the 1890s. The fact that two other women (Margaret Koch; Hannah Hurd) succeeded her on the Minnesota medical board struck me as all the more remarkable considering the male domination of medical boards individually and collectively throughout the majority of their history.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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By Hedy Wald
It’s a festive time of year. And medical educators so busy, busy trying to tie up loose ends on never-ending projects. It is good to hear of plans for fun times with family and friends and looking forward to that sense of renewal in the new year…
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By Jody Platto
Since graduating from Wellesley College in 2015, I have experienced a paradigm shift from always searching for what is next to remaining committed to what lies straight ahead. Strong personal and professional mentorship in my first career as a professional athlete set the stage for me to excel when I resumed my university education. At Wellesley, mentorship again played a key role when I joined a neuroscience lab. Inspiring leaders helped me to gain the skills and confidence to succeed, encouraging me to take whatever career path I chose. But choosing was hard!
Now, as a second year medical student, this lifetime of support from powerful mentorship and a healthy respect for transformation guide me in navigating – and sticking with – my burgeoning career…Read More »