“Nate Does Not Have A Career In Critical Care”

Disclaimer: I am especially salty tonight because I have trudged one small step closer to the inglorious age milestone of 30, and have little to show for it except two aborted jobs, knee pain, and a shitty Mazda with an outstanding recall for premature airbag deployment.

Read on.

This month, I’m taking a hybrid course called Critical Illness, which as you might imagine focuses on the unique aspects of caring for the very sick or injured. We spend a week learning “skills” in our simulation center, followed by some combination of an ICU week and two weeks of case-based learning, similar to what we did first year. Continue reading

Step 2 Or March Madness…?

This past Wednesday, one of my closest friends, C., took Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). You may remember me writing about and taking the 9-hour Step 2 Clinical Knowledge test (CK) back in December… but did you know there was another half to that exam?

Clinical Skills is another lengthy exam, but it’s hands-on. During the test, you “see” twelve standardized patients – actors – who simulate a variety of medical conditions. Your job is to connect with the patient, wash your hands, speak English, and figure out what’s wrong with the actor. Continue reading

Up and Away

I only have one month of research left! Thank god. I can’t wait to get back to clinical medicine.

Medical school is a fascinating place. It’s bound to be; you’re taking 100 or so of the highest-stress, maximum type A personalities that exist and forcing them to attend class, scrap for grades (sometimes), and cohabitate for four years. If we had time for lives and drama, it would make a fantastic reality TV show. Continue reading

Resuscitation! (or, Impostor Syndrome II)

So it turns out that when you are on your research block you have absolutely nothing to write about. Patients are funny, residents are funny, and hapless medical students are hilarious, but there is absolutely nothing funny about research. My project is in the field of medical education, which I find intellectually stimulating and worthwhile but primarily involves attending meetings, reading journal articles that freely use phrases like “cognitive load” and “contextually embedded orchestration of skills,” and sitting in front of a computer. Continue reading

Rules for Step 2

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, medical school is actually three different curricula in one.

There’s the Learn To Be A Doctor Curriculum, which is where you haphazardly learn to take care of people mostly by screwing up over and over again. This has almost zero connection to the rest of medical school, as the bulk of the Learn To Be A Doctor Curriculum is taught in residency. Not incidentally this is why medical students are often not allowed to Do Things, which as you’ll recall is practically the only thing I want to do. Things. Continue reading

The B Pod

My emergency medicine rotation has ended, and all I want to do is go back to the ER.

Actually that’s a lie. All I actually want to do is sit on my couch and do my best Fat Bastard impersonation by watching eight hours of NFL Red Zone. Which, if we are being honest, is exactly what I am going to do. Being between blocks in the third and fourth years is a little bit like getting a 48-hour pass from prison: no responsibilities, no homework, no email if you don’t want it, and nothing to do. Continue reading

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

Wharton’s Jelly

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently taking a hybrid classroom/clinical duties course centered around immunology and the immunocompromised patient. I’ve just finished a week on the stem cell transplant unit, where most patients have received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia. In general, these patients come to the hospital for one of three reasons:

  • To get their bone marrow transplant;
  • Their leukemia relapsed;
  • They developed an awful complication called graft-vs-host disease.

Continue reading