Summer Adventure 2011

It’s hard to believe my summer started over a month ago. I have to be back to studying in two months! I need to cram as much fun and relaxation as possible into these two months.

So what does a med student like myself do with a summer off? Research, shadowing, work? Nah, not for me, at least nothing too substantial. After a nine months of studying I need an adventure, so that’s what my wife and I are doing. IMG_0699

We road tripping throughout the west side of the country, planning on seeing as many national parks as possible. Right now we’re hanging out in Portland for a few days, but soon we will leave for Crater Lake, the Redwoods, Yosemite and beyond. It’s going to be awesome.

Other than that I’m going to spend the summer seeing friends and family, reading, writing (like that e-book I talked about) and biking. Here are the books on my reading list so far:

Finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. I think I started this book last fall, so it has taken me about a year to finish. Dense reading at times but so far it is worth it. The book is a fascinating attempt at reconciling art and science. That description does not do the book justice.

The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian. I listened to an interview with Adrian on NPR and was intrigued.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I’ve read a lot of Steinbeck, but not this one.

Hopefully I’ll finish a few more besides these.

Here are a few pictures from the travels we’ve done already:



Dog Mountain near Portland:


Ahh, summer is great! What are your plans?

Summer Links

Cowboys and Pit Crews.

– Atul Gawande delivers the commencement address at Harvard Medical School. Anyone interested in medicine should read this. IMG_0651

My Article on Men’s Health for Student Health 101.

-This is the only way I know to link to it. You can get to it by clicking on the icon for Men’s Health Checklist at the bottom. It’s not life altering work, but it is cool to see my own work published somewhere besides this blog.

Want a Better College Experience? Start Your Own Independent Project.

-Pre med blogger Ryan offers up some unique advice for college students. Also, congrats to Ryan on the new writing gig!

An International Service Corps for Health

-An interesting idea that needs to be fleshed out a bit. Would you be interested?

That’s all for now. More posts to come soon, it’s amazing how much writing I can get done in the summer!

First Year of Med School Recap: Fall Academics

I recapped 2010, which was a busy year for my personal life. Now that I’ve completed (and passed!) the first year of medical school I’d like to review my Yep, that's melast academic year at Creighton School of Medicine.

We’ll start with the Fall semester classes with short reflections for each one.


The fall started with a few days of orientation, some team building exercises, social events etc. We quickly transitioned into lectures. Lots and lots of lectures. And Anatomy lab. Here’s how it went:


I posted my some stories about Anatomy several months ago so I’ll keep this brief.

Anatomy was one or two lectures a day and labs MWF. Labs were the most difficult part of Anatomy for a couple reasons. The labs were often after lunch when we were already tired from four to six lectures. Dissection is not an easy skill, and identification is often more difficult. We had some great TAs that helped us with both, which brings up an important tip- get on the good side of your TAs! They’ll help out tremendously, especially if they are in good moods. Help them be in good moods!

Netter is also helpful.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Or MCB as we liked to call it. This class was an amalgamation of cell biology, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology. 112 lectures of wonderful basic science, ugh. We also had small group meetings once a week where we discussed clinical cases that ideally related to what we were learning.

To be honest, this class kicked my ass at times. I think it was the volume of information that got to me. That combined with the stress of transitioning to med school (and preparing for a wedding) made this class my worst performance academically for the year. Wahoo.

Ethics and Legal Topics in Medicine

A hit and miss class overall. Lectures such as those on death and dying, problem patients and ethical problems in research were interesting but some lectures seemed irrelevant or at least not deserving of a whole 50 minutes. We also had small group weekly in this course, which was often fun and engaging. I enjoyed hearing other student’s perspectives on complex issues.

This course was not challenging academically, which was a nice break from Anatomy and MCB.

Interviewing and Physical Exam

How to talk to patients, how to listen to patients, how to examine patients. Basically the “doctoring” side of being a doctor. These are skills I think some people take for granted. However, these physical movements and do not come as naturally as one might imagine. Where to place the stethoscope on the body, how to position the patient during an abdominal exam, how to avoid asking leading questions etc. are all skills that take practice.

We had sporadic small groups where we would interview fake patients and then each semester we had an OSCE where we had to demonstrate correct technique in portions of the physical exam. This was our only year long course.

That concludes the academic portion of the fall semester, I’ll recap the spring semester soon.