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"I wouldn't do it twice, but I would not 'not' do it once."

- ZDoggMD


Managing Student Loan Debt

A Government Program You Need to Know About

As graduation approaches, medical students are concerned with two things: having as much fun as possible before internship starts, and what to do when we have to start repaying the massive amount of debt accrued during school. I can't help you with internship, but I do want to point you to a relatively new (2007) government program which graduating students should seriously consider. The video below explains the value of combining Income Based Repayment (IBR) with Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) instead of entering forbearance as a resident. These two programs combined could save you $200,000 or more in the long run. The best part? To qualify you only have to work for a non-profit, and 80% of hospitals qualify.

Finally, make sure to file a tax return during your graduating year even if you didn't make any money as a student, as the next year's IBR will be based off that income. Check it out and let us know what you think!


The 5 Top Inventions That Will Make Being A Medical Student Or Resident A Breeze

The Future Of Medical School and Residency

1.Never Miss Another Pimp Question With Google's Project Glass

Google is working on a pair of glasses complete with a heads up display inside the lens. Soon you'll have an Android Operating System right in front of your eyes. If the attending asks you for 15 differentials for a patient with dizziness you can give her 20. Also sweating through another operating room anatomy pimp session will be a thing of the past. Just pull up the Netters app on your glasses and tell the surgeon to bring it! The glasses are slated to hit the market by the end 2012 at a cost of between $250 and $600. So start saving your student loan money now.


2. Never Forget the Definition of Any Medical Term With Touch-Hear

This idea is from National University of Singapore's Design Incubation Centre. Essentially, by touching a word or phrase in a particular piece of reading material, the user can listen to its related information such as pronunciation and/or meaning. Those obscure medical terms that are always on the tip of your tongue but you just can't remember will not be a problem. If a question says, the patient has astasia-abasia, asomatognsia, abulia, and anosognosia and you are lost? No problem, you now have the answer at the tip of your finger.




3. Holding Retractors in a 20 Hour Surgery? No Problem With a Powered ExoSkeleton

Currently being developed by the United States Army for application in combat. The powered exoskeleton gives a person super human strength. Current models increase your strength 10 fold and will never fatigue. Imagine how much easier holding that butt cheek retractor will be once you can slip on an exoskelton.


4. Long Lectures Become Fun With Flexible/Foldable TV Screens

Soon those gruelling all day medical school lectures will turn into a wonderful experience. Just bring a stack of notes or text book and slide your TV screen into the pages. Instead of keeping up with the professor's boring lecture you could be Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Just remember to move your highlighter around from time to time so they don't suspect something is up.


5. Take the 80 Hour Work Rule And Laugh In It's Face With Turbo Snort

The product is called Turbo Snort, I really don't think much more needs to be said. One bottle boasts 400 hours of energy. With Turbo Snort you will be able to huff your way to success in medical school and beyond. Just slip on a pair of google glasses, an exoskelton, and take a shot of Turbo Snort and you will become the Medical School Gunner version of Iron Man.





Medical Student By Day, Indie Author By Night

Brian Justin Shier is a 3rd year Medical Student at the University of Califonia Irvine School of Medicine. He plans to pursue a career in Hematology and Oncology.

As B. Justin Shier he is also the Author of the Zero Sight Series. The first two books in the series have been well recieved with loads of 5 start reviews on Amazon. As well as this high praise.

Top 5 in Kindle Contemporary Fantasy Ratings
--Based on Amazon reader reviews (September, 2011)

Top 10 in Hot New Contemporary Fantasy Releases for the Kindle

--Amazon (June, 2011)

I had the pleasure of chatting with Brian about medical school, writing, publishing, and finding time to make it all happen. He maintains an eclectic online journal at www.bjustinshier.com where many topics are discussed, including future releases of his book series.

Listen to our conversation below, right click to download an mp3 file.

Uncommon Student MD talks with Brian Shier


9 Reasons For Physican Burnout, And One Way To Avoid It

"The burnout epidemic amongst our physicians is a predictable result of the medical training and the generally accepted definition of “success” amongst doctors."

-Dr. Dike Drummond MD Founder of TheHappyMD.com

Dr. Dike Drummond is a Mayo trained Family Practice Physician who has experience in medicine, coaching and personal improvement, and business development. His expertise in personal change was developed over 15 years as a family practice doctor and 8 years as a business coach working with physicians and startup entrepreneurs.

When I met Dr. Drummond, we discussed the reasons why so many physicians get burned out. He asked me how most doctors measure success? “Do they have a busy practice?” The answer popped out of my mouth instantly; it was almost a reflex. This is something you hear all the time. “She is doing well, working in a busy practice,” or “his surgery schedule is booked solid; he must be doing great.” This seems to make sense; after all, we are doctors, and doctors are busy. However using this one tool as your main metric of success can become a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, this is not the only reason physicians get burned out, but the good news is, there is a solution.

Enter Dike Drummond

What follows are 9 facts about the practice of medicine that lead directly to burnout. The good news is you can do something about it.

1) Being a Doctor is Stressful. Period

The "most stressful" professions are those characterized as having a high level of responsibility and little control over the outcome. We are not selling widgets in medicine. This is a tough job that saps our energy every single day.

2) We Work with Physically and Emotionally Sick People All Day Long

Our days are filled with intense encounters. We spend our time treating sick, scared, and hurting people. In addition to the physical ailments, there are many emotional needs that come with any illness. Physicians do not receive proper training on creating boundaries; our energy can be severely tapped by these emotional needs alone.

3) Balance, What Balance?

Medicine has a powerful tendency to become the “career that ate my brain." Pushing all other life priorities to the side is something that we have ingrained into us during medical school and residency. As we get older, with more family responsibilities, the tension between work and our larger life is a major stressor for many. Training on healthy boundaries would help here too and is rarely available.

4) A Leadership Role with no Leadership Skills

You graduate into the position as leader of a healthcare delivery team without receiving any formal leadership skills training. By default we learn a dysfunctional "Top Down" leadership style. (Medicine and the military are the only professions where the leaders "give orders.") This adds additional stress.

5) The Doctor is the Bottleneck

The team can only go as fast as we can, and we are often behind schedule. Pressure mounts to perform at full steam all day long.

6) Who's Paying for This?

The financial incentives are confusing at best. The patient is often not the one paying for our services, and many of them receive their care with no personal investment on their part. You may have to deal with over a dozen health plans with different formularies and referral and authorization procedures ... of which the patient is blissfully unaware.

7) Medical Practice is A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

The hostile legal environment causes many of us to see each patient as a potential lawsuit. This fear factor adds to the stress of all the points above.

8) Politics and "Reform" Political debate drives uncertainty about what our careers will look and feel like in the future.

All the pundits share the same complete lack of understanding about our day to day experience as providers in the trenches of patient care. There is no track record of common sense. We simply don’t know what to expect.

9) Things Eventually Get Stale

The ten year threshold when your practice suddenly seems to become much more of a "mindless routine" losing its ability to stimulate your creative juices each week is a shock. All of a sudden it seems as if medicine is “no fun any more."

The Solution

Keep your connection to "WHY" we are a doctors; to your Purpose.

The quality of this connection varies day-by-day; however, it is a source of immense power and endurance when the connection is clear. As physicians, we must deliberately work to keep that connection alive and well. When you have invested over a decade of your life in medical training, it's easy to feel stuck when you think your reason for becoming a doctor is gone or not possible. It's imporant to remember you have a great skill, with more opportunities than you probably know. Keep searching out and pursuing the opportunities that ignite your passion, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes another perspective can open your eyes to opportunities you did not choose to consider. 

When you notice the three cardinal signs of Burnout

     1) Exhaustion

     2) Cynicism (especially in men)

     3) Questioning the quality of your work or whether you make a difference in the world.

     (Sounds like medical school and residency)

It's time for a break, some balance, to take really good care of yourself, spend some time with your family and even ask for support. You’ve earned it.

To learn more from Dike Drummond visit The Happy MD


Every Medical School Lecture

From Wash U Med 2014 Second-Year Class.


University of New Mexico Medical School Video

Look At Me Now from UNM Medical School looking to get donations for the student run clinic.

Here's a Parody/Remix of Chris Brown's "Look at me now" ft. Busta Rhymes & Lil' Wayne by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine Class of 2015 that we ran across on Facebook. If you enjoy this video, please send it along to your friends! Most importantly, please help us care for those in need by donating to one of our student run clinics. 

Click the link below to read more about One Hope Centro de Vida Health Center. Any donation would be much appreciated! Thanks! (Donation link can be found at the bottom of the webpage)

Click to read more ...


Have The Power To Practice Medicine How You Want

Turning Healthcare Ideas To Action

Jessica is a fourth-year med student in the Tufts MD/MBA program and will be heading to Portland, OR, for residency in Family Practice. While in school, she has been involved in various consulting projects for hospitals, health clinics, and small health and wellness businesses. She is also the co-founder of the Ideas To Action series at Tuffs University. It is a speaker/workshop enrichment series for health sciences students interested in entrepreneurship and idea development. With a profound interest in entrepreneurship, her goal is to have the freedom to explore innovative ways to impact health and wellness. I was able to chat with her about her journey, and I thought it was definitely worth sharing.

How did you decide to go to medical school? 

My path was not at all conventional. When I was young becoming a doctor was something I said I would never do. Both of my parents are doctors and they actually told me not to go into medicine. The change happened while I was at Harvard studying psychology. I heard about the combined MD/MBA program Harvard had just started, and I loved the idea. I always had an interest in the world of business and innovation, but I also liked that medicine gave you the opportunity to directly change people's lives. However, these two worlds existed apart in my mind until that point.  Now I did not have to choose.  I could take both of my interests and turn them into my passion, so I became a premed student. Once I decided medicine was what I wanted to do, my parents were supportive; and my mom gave some great advice. She told me that if I was going to choose this career path, I had to make sure I had the power to practice medicine how I wanted.

When/how did you get interested entrepreneurship?

I guess it’s something that has always been with me. My family is very entrepreneurial, and so maybe it's just in my blood.

Tell me about Ideas To Action Series?

While in school, I found myself constantly coming up with ideas, but I really didn’t know what to do with them. I approached my MD/MBA course director about this, and he put me in touch with Don Lombardi, the founder of Institute for Pediatric Innovation. As I began to explore my frustrations about the life science entrepreneurial process, I realized a lot of other students might feel this same way; and Ideas To Action Series was born.

The format is simple. We have someone who is creative and/or innovative in healthcare talk about the process they used to go from a dream to reality. This gets the creative juices flowing. Then we start the workshop portion where everyone gets into groups to come up with a product or service that could be a solution for a current problem in healthcare. It is always fun to see the great ideas people come up with, and I am always impressed by the creativity displayed during these sessions. After brainstorming, the moderator takes some of the best ideas and goes through some practical ways to implement them in the real world. It’s fun to have ideas, but it’s even more fun to actually do something. Giving students tools that lead to action is our main goal with Ideas To Action.

Any Advice To Medical Students Who Want To Follow An Unconventional Career Path?

Being a student is actually the perfect opportunity to approach an individual or company and ask to learn what they do. At this point you are not seen as competition, and people will likely go out of there way to help you. During one of your breaks, seek out a doctor who is doing something you find interesting or starting up a company in health care and tell them you are very interested in what they do and would love to learn more. Ask to work with them for a week, or even for the summer, and see where it goes.

Any Non medical Book Recommendations?

The title is How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes.  I know it has the ring of a cheesy self-help book.  But for people like me (many of whom I imagine are in fact medical students) who get a little uncomfortable in networking situations, this is an awesome book for building a little social confidence.  It offers great tips for entering a gathering with self-assurance, making a positive first-impression, and connecting meaningfully with people. This is especially important for students who want to do innovative or alternative things and therefore need to talk to lots of different people, outside of the med school bubble, at conferences, workshops, and startup events.


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