Links: Lake Titikaka Edition

Greetings from Lake Titikaka, Peru where the elevation is a cool 12,500 feet. I´m getting out of breath just typing this!

Seriously though, here are some great links related to the Pre Med journey:

-Cal Newport at Study Hacks probes the problems associated with multi-tasking and being hyper-connected. Bottom line: Multi-tasking makes it harder for you to focus on one task, even when you´re not multi-tasking.

-Jae Won Joh writes a compelling argument against using letter writing companies. Basically you´re much better off saving your money.

-Mohammed at Pre Med Hell explores the decision of picking a major as a pre med student. I essentially agree with the premise that you should major in what you´re interested in. However, if that means double majoring to fulfill the pre med requirements, I would be careful.

-Speaking of Pre Med Hell, did you see my guest post over there about the importance of quality sleep? If not, you should check it out. Look forward to more articles where I explore some scientfic research related to student matters here at Pre Med Journey.

That´s all for now. I´ll be back in the states soon, responding to emails and comments will happen more promptly after that!

35 pounds, 35 on MCAT- a new blog to check out

I found a great new blog written by a student who is doing post-bac pre med requirements. The author’s name is Mel and her writing skills far surpass my own. She has a goal of losing 35 pounds and getting a 35 on the MCAT by the end of the year.

The blog serves as a sort of journal of her progress, and I’m grateful for the effort she puts into it as it is an entertaining read.

Check it out here:

http://35and35.wordpress.com/

Good luck Mel, I hope you achieve you goals and look forward to reading about your adventures along the way.

The Dark Side: Malpractice and Burnout

Today, links to some great medical blog posts. A common theme ties them together: the darker side of medicine. I think it’s important for pre med students to try and understand the whole picture of practicing medicine.

The first post comes from Kim at Emergiblog. Burnout occurs across all careers but I think it is especially important to be wary of in health care. Kim says,

I had stopped looking patients in the eye. I was spitting out standard responses instead of listening to what my patients were saying. I was expending the bare minimum of energy required to complete tasks.

I was doing; I wasn’t caring.

And I was burnt.

Check out the rest of the post here.

Next, I want to highlight a series of posts by Whitecoat at Whitecoat’s Call Room. Starting a couple weeks back, Whitecoat started outlining the story of his own medical malpractice trial. What he delivers is a surprisingly gripping account of a crazy process. Read the disclaimer here, then check out the first four posts in the yet to be finished series.

Post 1. Post 2. Post 3. Post 4.

Here’s a quote from the first post,

After reading through the chart, I remembered the patient. Nice older fellow who was laughing and joking with the staff when he first came in. I also remembered the patient’s daughter. As soon as she arrived, she began questioning everything we did and everything I ordered. I remember asking her if she had any suggestions for her father’s care. She wanted him transferred to his regular doctor at a hospital across town. By the time she made that request, he was already in shock and we couldn’t transfer him. That made her even more upset. Fortunately, because of the daughter’s animosity, I documented that chart very well.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

How Not to Talk with a Doctor

While I’m Scribing, it is key for me to understand exactly why the patient is in the ER and provide an accurate history describing their illness. This is often difficult as patients are often terrible providing a coherent history.

Thus leading to this post by Ten out of Ten, outlining many different types of patients and how they mess up such a simple task. Ten states, “Maybe 1 patient in 10 manages to concisely describe their issue and stick to yes/no answers.”

The post is incredibly entertaining and it’s worth taking the time to read the whole thing. Beware though, you may find a bit of yourself in some of these descriptions. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Me: “Do you take insulin or pills for your diabetes?”
Patient: “Well, at first they put me on a diet, and told me to exercise, and I did for a few days anyway and at first it seemed like maybe it helped a little bit, but then I guess it got worse, so they put me on a pill…what was it called…metop-o-nin…metamucil…formethorin…no…metlife?”
Me: “Metformin.”
Patient: “Yes! Metformin! So anyway they put me on that at first and I was getting it filled and then there was a problem with my insurance so I had to switch to a different pharmacy and that one was way farther away and the people there were not nearly as nice, except for Lula although now that I think about it she didn’t even work there, she worked at the Marshall’s across the street — I think it was a Marshall’s, either Marshall’s or Ross I can’t remember, which reminds me I need to take those shoes back, um, so…uh…where was I now?”
Me: “Um, insulin or pills?”

Wanderers are the worst. I usually end up afraid to ask any more questions and cut the conversation short.

Me: “Have you had fever?”
Patient: “No, but chills.”
Me: “Vomiting?”
Patient: “No, but I feel like I need to.”
Me: “Surgery on your belly?”
Patient: “No, but I’ve had my tonsils out.”
Me: “Heart problems?”
Patient: “No, but my mom’s a diabetic.”

The no/buts cannot bring themselves to stop at no. Do I need these extraneous details? No, but my knee is a little achy today.

Have I ever read a post so entertaining? No, but my memory is a little hazy today.

MCAT Links

The MCAT is a big deal. It tests your basic science knowledge, but more importantly your critical thinking and reading comprehension skills. Medical schools need a way to figure out not just whether you can memorize facts or understand biological concepts. They want to know if you have the brain capacity, focus and work ethic to handle the rigors of medical school. The MCAT is one way they determine that.
If you know very little about the MCAT, here are some links to get you started.

Continue reading MCAT Links