Internal Medicine: Week 1 Recap

On Monday, it’s probably safe to say I was legitimately terrified.

Obviously, I didn’t get any sleep on Sunday night, and instead I just sat on my floor wrapped in my own hair.

I just finished radiology, a rotation known for it’s relaxed atmosphere and minimal hours of “work.”

And this week, I started Internal Medicine, an 8-week rotation known for longer hours, intense pimping (aka: q-and-a sessions in which medical students typically get to be embarrassed by just how much they’ve forgotten from the USMLE Step 1), and just an overall larger workload, especially when making the switch from “radi-holiday.”

…except I basically hit the medicine team lottery.

I’m one of four students spending the first four weeks at a community hospital about 35 mins outside of the city, and I’m learning that friendliness of hospital staff increases proportionally to distance outside of the city. I mean, here, people say things like:

“Listen, if your stress level hits even 1/10, that’s too much. You don’t have to know all of the answers and I want to know if you’re feeling uncomfortable.” -Dr. Hospitalist

“I know you have two patients. But do you want a third? Wait, really? You want one? Are you sure? Really? You’re sure?” – my intern, who apparently is really worried about overworking me.

And no one ever makes me feel bad for not knowing an answer. Which is good, because there’s a lot of answers I’ve forgotten in the months since I took boards.

The staff of this hospital.

I was assigned to the team responsible for the less acutely ill patients, so the management plans tend to be fairly straightforward and our patient turnover rates are pretty high. Multiple times this week, I picked up a new patient to follow in the morning, only to help with the discharge paperwork by noon. Admissions typically come in overnight, so usually once my notes are (hand)written, there’s not a whole lot going on in the afternoon.

…which means that I’ve been getting hours upon hours of both independent study time and one-on-one teaching with both my resident and my attending on any topic of my choosing… and I’ve STILL been getting out by 3:00 PM (my classmates stay until 5-6 PM at least…).

This is how you leave the hospital at 3 PM for the fourth day in a row…

Basically, I have radiology hours along with the opportunity to interact with patients.

So I’m pretty much living the dream. Minus the part where I’m spending my one and only day off battling a GI bug, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Good luck, 4th years!

As you may or may not know, tomorrow is one of the biggest days for medical students all across the country: Match Day.

Except unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) Match Day does NOT involve fire.

 

The Match is a process by which graduating fourth year medical students are placed into open residency positions in what is hopefully a program of their choice. For those of you unfamiliar, here’s a quick summary:

To start, students select and apply to however many programs they deem necessary for them to find work in their chosen field. They’re invited to interview with these programs, and then following all interviews, students make a top ten or top twelve or top sixty gajillion list of programs in the order of their preference.

Meanwhile, all of the residency programs are doing essentially the same thing; they’re creating lists of interviewed applicants, ranked from most to least desirable.

And then, what I like to picture as a magical box with a hamster spinning on a wheel inside compares all of the lists from all of the students and all of the programs across the country and “matches” everyone to a future residency program.

Here’s hoping magical match hamster has more coordination than this little guy…

The magical box-dwelling hamster will always choose on the side of the student if possible. For example, if your top ranked program has 30 open positions and you’re 32nd on their list (but you’re first on Program #3’s list!), you will still get to go to that program as long as at least two individuals higher on that list received placement elsewhere. If all 30 students ahead of you also listed said program first, then hopefully you’ll have better luck at Program #2. And if none of your programs want you, you’ll get a not-so-friendly email suggesting you try to scrounge up one of the leftover positions in the week leading up to Match, but let’s not talk about that…

And then, on Match Day, medical students across the nation gather together in champagne-filled parties to open essentially the most life-altering fortune cookies of their lives, and there’s lots of screaming and tears of joy (or sorrow) as everyone learns their fate together.

…this is an absurdly long post for two simple points:

1. My Match Day is precisely one year from today, and yet I still don’t know what I’m going to apply for. Holy nerves, Batman!

2. Good luck to all my fourth year classmates, fellow bloggers, and fellow medical students! I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you all tomorrow!

To new residency positions!

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PS: For those of you having the same “OH NO, HOW WILL I LIVE WITHOUT READING I’S AND O’S ON MY GOOGLE READER?!” fit that I am, never fear: you can still follow me on Bloglovin

The One Where I Made Lemonade

When life gives you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade.

When life pushes you over during your track meet, you’re supposed to do the worm.

When life gives you surgical subspecialty in July, you’re supposed to whine and act like the world is going to implode for approximately 24 hours, and then buck up and assemble the best damn schedule a fourth year medical student could ask for.

As you might recall, last week, I was throwing a bit of a tantrum:

I realized I was being more than a little bit ridiculous, mostly because “surg sub” isn’t nearly as hellacious as the third year surgery clerkship in terms of hours and expectations. Many of the specialties do not even require pre-rounding, an annoying practice in which medical students are expected to arrive at the hospital even earlier than 6:00 AM rounds to ask their patients the same questions the residents will ask at 6:00 AM. And most of them don’t round at 6:00 AM.

Every medical student on pre-rounds.

…and I purposely didn’t take anesthesia during my third year so that I could enjoy the cakewalk that is a medical student anesthesia rotation next year. (7:00 AM – 2:00 PM shift with enough coffee breaks to last a year, here I come!)

So you know what, classmates? Forget snatching up all the good electives before this girl gets there, because I’m going to plan the rest of my awesome fourth year, poorly timed surg sub or not!

The One Where I Whine A Lot

MedicalMonday button

It’s another Medical Monday! For those of you who know me, welcome back! To those of you visiting for the first time, I’m K, a third year medical student in the US, and I’m pretty excited to have you here.

Except that the following incredibly whiny, stressed out post doesn’t make for a very good first date. Why don’t you check out my “You Know You’re a Medical Student…” series (20 Ways and 20 More Ways) first, and then visit my crazy once you’ve already learned to love me?

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This is me. Right now.

I think my stress level is reaching sub-Step 1 levels. (Yes, that is a level just below that induced by spending hours upon hours studying for a beastly 8 hour multiple choice exam that represents the first real grade received in medical school.)

Why, you ask?

It’s partially that radiology is just not my thing. Don’t get me wrong… being home, snuggled in my bed at 3:30 PM is totally my thing, and I’m sure I’d like radiology loads more if I was able to be a productive member of a team. However, my current activities include sitting in a dark room watching a resident dictate radiology reports, which is the equivalent of watching someone surf the Internet. And the lectures tend to be painfully boring and/or over my head (medical physics, anyone?).

Me, in most of my radiology lectures.

But the real reason for my stress is my fourth year schedule, which came out this past Friday. We have four mandatory blocks: a sub-internship, Geriatrics, Ambulatory, and surgical subspecialty.

The good news is I got the sub-internship I wanted in inpatient pediatrics (although my indecision re: residency picks makes this potentially NOT a good choice), and my geriatrics block is with at least two of my close friends. Additionally, my family med preceptor agreed to host me for my ambulatory block this summer, which I’m beyond excited for, provided the school allows me to switch the dates.

The bad news is that I got surgical subspecialty in July, which is terrible for several reasons:

1. This was me on surgery (so why would I ruin my summer?):

Evidence: of this misery, my tendency to bow out of surgeries early and excitement for the end of the block.

2. July is primetime to get letters of recommendation. I may not know what I want to do, but I know it’s not surgery… so why would I lose precious networking time on a block during which it won’t benefit me to network?

3. Perhaps the worst factor: I can’t change the timing of this block until the third year schedule comes out, which means it’s difficult to start scheduling my electives since I don’t know definitively when this mandatory block will be. Meanwhile, all of my classmates can start snatching up the best electives…

Bah. I want to just finalize my schedule and be done, but unfortunately this surgical subspecialty block is really cramping my style.

And don’t even get me started on the logistics of trying to find an international elective with appropriate dates.

Fourth year is NOT supposed to be this stressful.

FORGET it.