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

- ZDoggMD

Entries in Medschool (5)

Sunday
Jul222012

Medschool + Sharing

Two years ago I sat with my fellow students in the auditorium like newly minted pennies, fresh, enthusiastic, bright eyed and ready to mount up on our journey into the unknown world of medical school matriculation. Our enthusiasm was our armor against what we all felt, the fear of god raining from the sky smiting us out of medical school with the doomed possibility of failure.  We had all heard of at least a story of the mishaps or misfortune of a poor medical soul lost to the abyss. It was a thought we couldn’t entertain, our enthusiasm alone would will us past our insecurities.

The all mighty validation of medical knowledge affectionately called the mean, ruled whether we were on track to medical success.  Below the mean meant a darker sky, less enthusiasm, more pessimism. By the end of first year we were so good at reading each other, we could split the class in half by disposition alone.

While reflecting on first year, I took the the time to explore medicine outside the semi lit lecture hall. I read case files, sat in on tumor boards, attended grand rounds and visited patients. I saw the lives of residents and innovative leaders share their latest medical research. I saw a collaborative world where patients were put before board scores, publications, edging out peers and politics. They were candid about limitations and honest about missteps in treatment plans. I couldn’t help, but wonder if there was something intangible in medical practice that we all shared that went beyond valid assessment by neatly organized test scores.

Returning to second year the stakes were higher, the work load larger and of course our time more limited. We weren’t shiny matriculated pennies anymore, but our armor was still intact. After all we had survived first year, we could do anything. But as second year took hold, fatigue crept in and boards loomed, our armor began to crack. Enthusiasm wasn’t sustaining us anymore. We became more candid and open about missteps and limitations. We started to share study guides more openly, and compensate for each other’s missteps to save our friendly simulated patients. As our armor continued to break down we had only one thing left in our arsenal, we shared our gifts.

About: Aaron Schenone Third Year Medical Student in St Louis, studying clinical research in oncology.

Sunday
Mar252012

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)
http://tiny.cc/1ozjbw

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar082012

They Tell Me That Medical School Will Change Me

By Tamara Moores, a fourth year medical student at Loma Linda University specializing in Emergency Medicine.

They tell me that I’ll change.

They always do.

In our first two weeks of medical school, freshmen students are assigned to shadow senior students working in the hospital. When I was a freshman, my senior student’s final comment to me was “Wow. You’re really enthusiastic… That will change.”

Now as a fourth year medical student, today’s version of the story was – “intern year will change you. You may look the same on the outside, you may portray that same bubbly, sunshine personality, but inside you’ll be different – harder, less tolerant, mean.”

They say it with confidence, they say it with authority, brooking no disagreement, allowing no doubt. Attendings, residents, nurses – they all deign to tell me my future – “there’s no way you can stay that energetic, it’s incompatible with a medical career.” Over and over I have heard this. As a medical student, I am supposed to listen and learn - to be guided by these wise elders. This morning when I heard the prediction for the 100th time, like always I politely listened with a half-smile. Yet silently my spirit roared “How DARE you smugly tell me the fate of my soul?! How DARE you justify your own insecurities about your passionless heart by attempting to degrade mine?”

Medicine is a unique environment. In my short foray into this time-honored, traditioned society, I have been buffered and shocked by the rampant negativity that oozes through the hospital walls. People seem to even take pride in their ability to bemoan their situation.

“Oh God, another consult from the ED, think they managed to even do a physical exam before calling?”

“That professor has no idea what’s on boards.”

“I can’t believe we have to be here.”

“This computer system is a joke.”

By far the most common conversation in a hospital is complaining. Tomorrow, try something different - stop and listen to the myriad people talking at work. The ratio of negative to positive conversations will overwhelm you.

Why is hospital culture like this? Shouldn’t a place of healing be full of warm emotions, positive thoughts, and uplifted people? Why is a ‘negative nancy’ the most common type of medical professional we meet? What are we doing wrong? These questions often come to mind during my workday. There is no easy answer. At the very least I know my top goal is to NEVER become that stereotypical cynical physician, and instead be the uncommon doctor with true passion for medicine.

So how do I accomplish this in such a caustic environment? Have no doubt, even at my current bubbly baseline, it is a daily war to maintain my heart for this career. So many physicians before me have fought this battle and lost. How can I succeed where they have failed?

A resident who I highly respect recently told me ‘be careful what you say, because talk patterns become thought patterns.’ This, more than anything, is my first defense against cynicism. It is SO easy to fall into conversation filled with complaints. These tiny conversations seem harmless, but over the course of a lifetime they shape your soul. Now at the end of my medical schooling, and at the cusp of residency, I am awed by the power of the spoken word. It’s undeniable - what we say both molds and reflects what we think.

Overall I believe the best weapon against developing permanent pessimism is to be deliberate in how we react to daily adversity. How do we respond to a floridly difficult, unpleasant patient? Do we moan about how annoying they are? Do we ruminate about how unfairly they treated us? Permit me to suggest a different response. Instead of focusing on how unjustly that patient has treated me, I instead try to feel gratitude. Whether or not it’s right, these difficult patients make me grateful that my life has not put me in their position. They must be really unhappy inside, to so poorly treat the people who are trying to care for them. When I am mistreated by an attending, I remind myself that they are but a momentary discomfort, and soon will be gone from my life. Over and over I find myself fighting to see the positives in my life. It is a deliberate, intentional strategy, which allows me to shine out with joy even in the little moments of the day.

I firmly believe that working as a medical professional can be a path to a life filled with meaning and passion….if we let it. Not all days are perfect, but most days I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be in my chosen career. The patients are interesting, my skills are stretched, and I feel fulfilled. Beyond these personal reasons, more than any other career, medicine reminds us how short and precious life is. We deal in broken bodies, lives cut short by car collisions, by strokes, by chronic disease. How lucky we are to be able to move our bodies without wheelchairs, to be relatively self-sufficient. Working in the medical field reminds me daily that everything can change in a moment. It is this acute awareness of the frailty of life, which makes me embrace life with so much abandon. It is this knowledge that gives me joy in the workplace, even during the rough days. To put it bluntly, life is too darn short to be grumpy.

So why am I reflecting via this forum? Perhaps because I hope that I am not alone in this fight. Perhaps I hope that by starting a discussion, we might nudge forth a change in the standard hospital culture. Maybe with forums like this, we can shift the caustic paradigm. Here’s to hope.

About:: Tamara Moores is a fourth year medical student at Loma Linda University. She is specializing in Emergency Medicine. https://www.facebook.com/reflectingthelights

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Friday
Feb242012

Introduction To My Third Year Of Medical School

This video journal medical school by Q is a great blow-by-blow of the ups and downs of student doctors.

Sunday
Jan012012

The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Go To Medical School... And The Single Reason You Should

There used to be a different post here.

There used to be an entire list on why you should not go to medical school; the top 10 reasons you should not go to medical school and one reason that you should. If you want to reason the other side of the story go to this article, "The Top Ten Reasons You Should Go To Medical School And The Single Best Reason Not To."

The post talked about reasons for not going to medschool; of losing friends, spending the best years of your life as an underpaid, overworked, and sleep deprived slave, and then found the one reason — and only one — to go to medical school.

But, after a number of emails with the author and revisions that included removing parts of the posts, and an update at the bottom of the post asking for all comments to be added to the authors site, the author has had a change of heart and asked for the entire post to be removed and so we've complied with that request.

Now we are not generally in the business of trying to step on people's toes, and we try to be respectful of everyone's wishes and we certainly want to provide as much value as we can to all of the sites that we link to. However in this case it seems a little onerous (and somewhat unethical) to delete everyone's thoughtful comments along with the original post. So, we decided to just remove the post in its entirety and change the discussion slightly.

Of course what are the things we noticed was that most peoples thoughts did not agree with the basic tenets of the original post; that there are at least 10 reasons why you shouldn't go to medical school or become a physician and only one reason that you should.

In fact, while there are a couple of people that agree that medical school and becoming a physician is a challenging career path, many of the comments voice the opinion that medicine had a lot to offer in exchange for the shortcomings of the current health care system.

Here is an example:

There are very few professions that meet people from all walks of life that confide in you very personal issues and want to know your opinion just because you "are a doctor". A job where you get to be on your feet rather than stuck behind a desk all day staring at a computer or on the phone and for the most part get to have educated, intelligent, and interesting people as your co-workers. As a doctor let me assure you - none of us are starving. – Gut Girl

Of course, opinions all vary and there are any number of physicians I know that would gladly hang up their stethoscope if they could replace their income, but so would a lot of people with other jobs.

This site's only real purpose is the uncover the ways that medical schools students (and physicians) can leverage their skills, training, and degree and help them to craft a lifestyle that is both rewarding and fulfilling. If that's clinical practice while you start a business on the side, or forgoing clinical practice altogether, fine. There's a puzzle-piece that everyone needs, and it's usually NOT just doing what everyone else does.

You can read the opinions of others below. Some of them are leaning towards the combative side. Let's keep it civil.

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