Bright Lights, Shiny Objects

This week I started my emergency medicine month and I am a kid in a freaking candy store.

I’ve loved emergency medicine, or the concept of it, since I was sixteen years old when I first took a lifeguarding class. I did this so that I could spend my summers on staff at jewcamp getting tan instead of shepherding campers around, because I am lazy and vain. Continue reading

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

Last week contained fourteen hours’ worth of exams – our comprehensive “end of block assessment” for the systems of the heart, lung, kidney, and blood. Plus anatomy and many other things I didn’t know. The Friday portion of the exam was a three-hour multiple choice exam of boards-style questions. For those of you that aren’t medical people, boards questions are notoriously difficult and are representative of the test all graduating medical students must pass to match into a residency program. An example: Continue reading

Impostor Syndrome

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

There.

We have a test coming up next week, and it is a huge one. Normal and abnormal stuff for hearts, lungs, kidneys, and blood. There is a lot of stuff that is supposed to go right and a lot of things that can go wrong. (See? I’ve been studying!) The test is three days long, starting on Tuesday.

Vomit. Continue reading

Presentation Skills: Needs Work

I’ve written quite a bit this academic year about our Physical Diagnosis class, including encounters with standardized patients. But starting in a couple of weeks, things change dramatically. Instead of practicing skills on standardized patients, we enter the hospital under the guidance of an assigned “tutor” to apply our lecture knowledge of the physical exam. Continue reading

IDENTIFY. DESCRIBE. fail.

Somewhat boring/necessary background unless you’re in my class:

At most schools, anatomy is taught in one continuous block, usually at the beginning of the year. By the time September rolls around, most students can identify bizarre-sounding muscles and tell you which stringy pale thing is a vein and which is a nerve. It’s harder than you think.

Our medical school works differently than most. We learn anatomy in segments, according to whatever physiologic systems we’re covering that block. For instance, this 12-week block, called Homeostasis, includes the heart, lung, and kidney. So we’ve dissected most of the thorax, where the heart and lungs are, and examined normal and abnormal kidneys in pathology lab (I’ve written about this previously). Continue reading

Tearin’ Up (Someone Else’s) Heart

(Did you catch the 90’s song reference?)

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently in the middle of the “Homeostasis” block, where we cycle through systems of the body – the heart, the kidneys, and the lungs. An integral part of most medical educations involves something called “organ recitals.”

An organ recital is a session where small groups of med students cluster around a pathologist and a cart. The cart is filled with organs, all covered by smelly, formalin-soaked rags. The expectation with organ recitals is that you come prepared to apply your Powerpoint knowledge of anatomy to real, excised organs. Continue reading