Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3/3 of the depressing future: Attendings tell us about their lives

(attending: a physician who has finished all training. So actually a doctor.) 

So we've learned about how terrible Step 1 is, how terrible clerkships are, and how we've learned how terrible it is even after we're actually doctors.*

There was a panel of docs, one of whom was a doctor in his last year of orthopedics residency. They told us the following things:

"If you stand still, you will get passed over." - 5th year orthopedic surgery resident

"When I was a resident (in internal medicine) at one point all the attendings I worked with had been divorced. I'm now divorced." - pulmonologist

"I have four kids and just went through a divorce." - urogynecological surgeon

"I get home around 10pm every day and get up around 5am." - either the urogynecological surgeon or the orthopedic surgery resident, I can't remember which

"I leave work at 5:30 every day." - a radiologist. At this point all the students decided they want to be radiologists.

At the end of the panel, the career services coordinator sensed the mood of the event and had to beg the panel for encouraging closing thoughts.

*unless you're a radiologist and leave work at 5:30pm every day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Part 2 of 3: Ethical Issues during clerkships

One of our classes this semester is ethics. The first day of ethics class was a panel that all students were required to attend. There were a few third and fourth year students who shared with us some "ethical dilemmas" they faced during their clerkships. (Clerkships are rotations. You follow around a resident (usually), wake up at ridiculous hours, and get asked questions to which you don't know the answer.)

Basically three of the four stories had this moral:
Don't say anything if you think you're resident or attending is wrong or is just acting like a jerk. 

(The last one wasn't about the attending or resident being wrong or a jerk. It was about a teenage patient who feigned pain in order to be admitted and then her boyfriend tried to sneak onto the floor during the night or something. It was weird.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The soul-crushing future, part 1 of 3

My entire med school class has assembled for a few required class meetings and career development sessions in the past few weeks. These meetings are supposed to prepare us for the future months and years. I wish these meetings hadn't happened because I have now seen the future. It is soul-crushing. 

Part I: about 8 months into the future, I will have to take USMLE Step 1

Class meeting about USMLE Step 1: 
Step 1 is the first of a series of standardized exams all American medical school students and foreign graduates must pass in order to apply for residency. It is the only real test of two years of basic science knowledge because most med school classes have pass/fail grading. It is, with few exception, the most important part of a student's residency application.
A few third and fourth year students were pulled away from their rotations in the hospitals to share with us some of their study strategies scare the shit out of all second year students. 
These were actually said by third and fourth year students. I'm not kidding. 
Students generally take about 6-8 weeks after the end of second year classes to review for the exam. 

"I studied every day for 12 hours for 6 weeks. Once I took a break and had dinner with my parents." 

"My study break was going for a walk around campus. I would also listen to pathology lectures on my iPod." 

"Every student gives their blood, sweat, and tears for this exam. And the average score is 222. What will you have to do to get above that?" 

I have two healthy kidneys, as far as I know. How many points will that buy me? 

(Parts 2 and 3 will be about third and fourth years, and residency and practice!)