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Studying Pharm — A Look At My Notes

“They” say that one way to aid memorization is to use drawings and diagrams (the crazier and more vivid, the better) because the brain more easily remembers spacial relationships that just straight lists. So as I have started this second year of medical school I am studying in a totally different way than I have in the past and using a lot of drawing/diagrams and writing out of my own notes.

Here is what my Pharmacology notes look like. It is the drug list for the autonomic drugs I need to know.

Sorry for the blurry video. I didn’t realize the video was out of focus until after I was done. The Flip Ultra doesn’t do very well this close to an object.

Hopefully I will be able to continue doing this throughout the year. I think it will really help me with the memorizing. If I can push through every day and avoid getting too far behind, I think the chances look good.

Again, sorry for the vid being blurry. If I do this again I’ll film from farther away or use my other camcorder.

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MSNBC.com: Facebook misconduct: Med students cross line

Article: MSNBC.com: Facebook misconduct: Med students cross line

Sometime last year there was an article about students posting inappropriate things on Facebook and having to deal with administrative consequences from their school or lose out on a job because some potential employer decided to check up on the job candidates online.

Well in this latest story, medical students across the country are getting reamed for being inappropriate on Facebook. What kinds of things? Offenses included “posting unprofessional content online, including photos of drug paraphernalia and violations of patient privacy.” Even posting YouTube videos of practical jokes with a cadaver.

While I agree that medical students should conduct themselves appropriately with the dignity expected of someone in the profession and that some of the offenses should never have taken place (like being disrespectful with a cadaver or violating patient privacy), I will point to one section of the article:

Medical students are no different from other young adults, said Anastasia Goodstein, a San Francisco-based marketing expert who tracks youth trends on her Ypulse Web site. The generation that first embraced social networking still considers Facebook merely a way to connect with friends.

“Now they’re waking up to the reality of older people and people with authority over them, like deans, seeing their Facebook pages,” Goodstein said.

And I don’t mean to point that part out to make an excuse for the behavior, but just to offer an opinion (that isn’t necessarily mine) from the other side.

However, I do strongly believe that all patient-identifyng information should never be posted online. And that was a line young and old never have a right to cross.

Oh, and one part of the article kind of pointed out something else. One medical student was in trouble for friend-requesting a patient on Facebook. I understand the ethical dilemma. We discussed this in class — that physicians and patients need to keep the relationship professional. But as Facebook has become more and more commonly used as a means to communicate (in addition to staying in touch with friends), I think this is a gray area.

Why can’t doctors add patients as a facebook friend? Is it because the patient will be exposed to the physician’s less guarded, non-professional moment? Or what if the physician had a dedicated professional account? Anyways, not everyone who is a “friend” on Facebook is really a friend (i.e. people who add/approve anyone regardless of whether or not they know them personally).

And now, I must go dig through both this blog’s archive and my twitter account and selectively purge entries…. lol Kidding. Kind of.

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Celebs Speak Out: Protect American Insurance Companies

If you live in America and haven’t been a hermit for the past few months you will surely have heard about this whole healthcare debate. Here are some celebrities who are speaking out urging us to protect insurance companies (satire). The celebrities include Jon Hamm, Will Ferrel, and Olivia Wilde who have all joined to collaborate with Funny Or Die.

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On a side note, I had a lecture today where the lecturer said that he doesn’t believe there is an answer to our healthcare problems. Government’s solution is to try something we aren’t doing and see if it works. He noted that in the UK, there is also a healthcare debate with the National Health Service (NHS) and the British government is inviting American insurance companies to discuss ways to try something different (more like the American system) which will allow people to opt out of NHS coverage. Food for thought…

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Year 2, Week 2 — I Have My Goal

I apologize for my completely lazy title. I’m tired. And it fits.

It’s the end of the second week of the sophomore year here at LLU. Some of you who have read my blog in the past might be wondering why I am writing about the beginning of sophomore year. Well because I am in the sophomore class — again. If you’re curious, check out my post titled “Back to Blogging” where I wrote about coming back to LLU after skipping exams and telling my dean I wanted his signature on my withdrawal slip.

It’s definitely strange. There is a sense of deja vu. Maybe it’s more than just a sense. I am hearing the same lectures for a second time. And I hope I can make the most of it.

But it is alienating to come into the lecture hall and see a totally different class. Unfamiliar voices and faces. And everyone there knows that you are a new face that was not part of the class 3 months ago — that you don’t belong.

I suck it up though. Because this is what I have to go through to get to where I want to be. And I’m not saying that my new classmates are unfriendly. They very well might be. And I have met a couple here and there that have been really nice. But I am definitely not the outgoing type. So that doesn’t help.

As I begin the second year for a second time I have to ask, what about me is different? Because if nothing has changed, then the outcome is likely to be the same frustration and anger that I felt before — which is definitely not a good thing. The last time it led to a failed attempt at withdrawing.

Well in short, a lot has changed. I am not the same student. Sure, I still want to goof off and procrastinate. But I have put myself on a schedule to keep myself on task. My break times, study times, meal times, and sleep times are planned out and printed out. I make a more concerted effort to focus and absorb/understand as much as possible from lectures. I cut down my internet/TV time. But the most significant change is probably attitude. I hate studying. I’ve said that before and I will probably be saying it many more times (or write it, for that matter).

But I have decided that I want to be a doctor. Yes, dear reader (intentionally left in the singular), I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR. And this process of spending hours with the books is NOT just a means to an end. Every opportunity to learn in medical school is a chance to shape the kind of doctor I will one day become. I don’t want to be some run-of-the-mill MD that just barely gets through, perfectly able to handle 90% of the problems 90% of the population see a doctor for.

The thing is, this will probably require me to throw my entire being at chasing a class ranking in the top 20% for this sophomore year (I’m not including the freshman year because mine sucked. I passed. But I’m definitely not proud of it.) Not for the sake of bragging rights, competitive residencies, or being “smart,” but because effectively soaking up everything I can in order to be the best doctor I can be will probably put me in that envied company as a serendipitous byproduct.

It’s a high challenge — especially for a life-long procrastinator and self-proclaimed loather-of-studying like me. Because it almost sounds like that percentile is my goal. And shockingly, that is the case. That’s what I am aiming for. In writing. On the Internet. For all (or one) to see.

In the end, should I fail to reach my goal, I hope that it is because I could not pull it off — not because I did not try hard enough or was not disciplined enough. Only time will tell, though.But the bar has been set high because one doesn’t achieve lofty goals without first being willing to set the goal behind daunting obstacles.

Wish me luck 😉

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If I were an actor…

Every once in a while I read about how some actor or actress refuses to watch any film that he or she acts in. I used to think that was odd. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to see yourself?

That’s how I felt — at least until I had to watch myself on video. After I saw a standardized patient in an OSCE I had to sit with two other students who had a interviewed two different actresses playing the same role.

The clinical case was simple. A 21 year old Caucasian female who previously suffered from Bronchitis (1.5 weeks ago) has a complaint of vaginal itching. She just completed her course of antibiotics 1 day before coming into the office. Based on that patient ID, and the subsequent history I (and I believe my two colleagues) concluded that this woman had a yeast infection.

That was the easy part. Well, more or less…

The difficult part came after. We sat in a group of three with one of the physicians and watched clips of each other’s interview. We had to comment on what we liked about it and what could be done to improve the interview as a whole.

After this group session we split up and had to watch our own videos in it’s entirety before writing a self-evaluation as well as what we think we could do to get better and what we planned to do in order to actually get better at it.

Well I cringed. I didn’t like watching myself on video. It was awkward. My voice sounded… well it just didn’t sound quite right. I watched myself and thought, “hmmm… I guess I could lose a couple more pounds.” (Is that girly of me to think that? LOL)

At least, however, I did get some positive comments. I’m not horrible at interviewing as long as I don’t go blank midway through. The physician told me I did not look nervous and I actually looked like a doctor in there — or at least on camera.

And the standardized patient wrote the following: “Good job!” and that I made her feel very comfortable during as a patient.

But on the bright side I know I can look a stranger in the eye and with a straight face talk about her vaginal itching, sexual activity, and sexual orientation all while making her feel comfortable.

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MSNBC.com: Sleep-deprived docs told to drink 6 cups coffee

Article Link: MSNBC.com:Sleep-deprived docs told to drink 6 cups coffee

um… yeah.. very good example of patient care focused on patient safety… (Sarcasm. I hate that I have to put this, but I am paranoid that if I don’t, this Internet post is going to come back and bite me in the future.)

I thought US Resident Physicians had it bad with our 80 hour/week cap (which isn’t as strict as some would like). But 80 hours of work without rest? That’s just downright ridiculous!

Maybe the guys in charge down under think that their doctors are super-human…

Ok, ok… so they admit that there is a doctor shortage. And they need more doctors. I guess it’s a good thing for foreign graduates who have an interest in working there.

Personally I have thought about working there in Australia after I finish training here. But I would not want to have to do an Australian residency in addition to my US one…

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Too Skinny?

Just saw this video on Facebook and I thought I’d share it here. Is there anything wrong with this model? Does her ankles look two weak? I know they try to be as slim as possible… but is her “wobbly-ness” a result of weak ankles (as a result of malnourishment) or just poor balance?