Archive for the ‘personal finance’ category

12 Resolutions for 2012

January 2, 2012

So, I was just talking with my dad and my little bro about New Years’ Resolutions and I realized that I wasn’t so great last year about keeping mine (especially the one about being a more faithful blogger, sorry!!) so I think I should try to aim for at least 90% adherence to the resolutions for the upcoming year. That means that I should stick to 10.8 (let’s round up to 11) of the following 12:

1. Read something to do with medicine and/or health care every single day

One of the things that stuck with me from surgery rotation was Dr. C’s admonishment that as medical professionals, we should be reading at least an hour a day, no matter what. I probably spend over an hour reading every day but romance novels, blogs and amateur fiction probably aren’t going to make me more valuable to my patients. Hopefully, one of my other resolutions will help me stick to this endeavor.

2. Be ready to take to Step 3 by May 30th

Step 3 is the final USMLE required before one is eligible for an official medical license. Once can’t apply for it until after one receives a medical degree but since only a portion of this exam is devoted to pediatrics, it would be nice to get it out of the way before the start of residency so that I can spend my intern year focusing on the good stuff. Studying for this exam will also help me stick with resolution one since it will make sure that I’m reading something medical (and learning something new or reinforcing something I already know) every day.

3. Strengthen my language skills

On my past few rotations, I’ve been one of the few people who was able to communicate well with Spanish-speaking patients and that has garnered me praise from the attendings and residents, not to mention interest from residency program directors. However, I find I’ve been coasting by on my above-average español and I’d like to push past the plateau and become fully fluent. The trouble is, it’s tough to find resources (especially free ones) at my level. I’d welcome any suggestions. Meanwhile, my 日本語 has fallen from 上手 to まあまあ from lack of use. I’d really like to get it back up to speed. If that means making time for manga, dramas and anime, so be it.


What You Pay For

February 7, 2010

NGM Blog Central – The Cost of Care – National Geographic Magazine –

Posted using ShareThis

That skinny orange line with the steep negative slope? That’s us.

Anyone who sat through (and stayed awake during) a cultural competence class during basic sciences could tell you that certain US citizens get an even worse deal for their dollars when it comes to health care. Note Japan’s line, however. You may have to bring your own sheets to the hospital* but at least you don’t have to worry about the bill when you get home.


How to Survive Semester 5

January 25, 2010

I know I said I’d post this ages ago. Here (at long last) is my advice for the current Fifth Semesters (especially those completing AICM in Miami).

1. Save Your Pennies

One thing you don’t learn about fifth semester until nearly the end of it is that it is actually comprised of the 3 months of AICM and the first 3 weeks of your first core (or special) rotation. If you receive any form of student aid, you will not be eligible to receive financial aid for sixth semester until you have completed those first three weeks of rotation, which may be months after you begin AICM. Please keep this in mind and try to budget yourself accordingly, as expenses in Miami can be steep, the fees for the Step (and for Step prep courses) are monstrous and there are other incidentals (travel, shipping, health insurance deductibles, etc.) to consider. You may end up having to secure an additional loan (or, find yourself dependent upon the kindness of your parents, if you are fortunate enough to have generous ones) if you don’t keep an eye on your finances. Most personal finance guides recommend having enough emergency money set aside to last you for six months of rent, bills and expenses. If you don’t have that much money just lying around, at least try to live frugally.

2. Practice Early (and Often!) for the Practical

You may have already heard about the 200-point 45 minute physical exam you will have to perform during fifth semester for 20% of your grade. This exam is tough, but certainly not impossible, especially if you practice often with your partner and take advantage of the practice sessions offered by the junior faculty. Even though the grading rubric is made available and an exam demo will be posted on mediasite, it would seem that there is some subjectivity in the grading and how well you perform is not only a function of how much (and how well) you practice but also, who is grading. Since you won’t know who’ll be evaluating you until right before your exam, it’s best to make sure that for your part, you’re as close to flawless as you can be. The standard is quite high – scoring below 90% is usually a failure and if you do fail, you will have to stay a week after the final and retake the practical before you can pass 5th semester (even if you have As in everything else). Also, for the ladies – you must have a bikini top to wear during the practical (as you will serve as the patient for your partner). If you’re shy about that sort of thing (as I was), you’ll have to get over it…

3. Take Medical Spanish

In Miami, there are 2 ways one can earn 5% extra credit in AICM: one can complete an extra DXR case (they’ll tell you more about that) or, one can participate in a weekly hour-and-a-half-long medical Spanish class. I strongly recommend taking the class, even if you are already conversant (or fluent!) in Spanish. If you are a native (or fluent) Spanish speaker, you can get credit as a TA. If you are proficient or conversant, it’s an excellent chance for you to broaden your knowledge, as you will be provided with a medical Spanish “bible” with a full H&P glossary. If you have never studied Spanish before, I implore you to take the class because it is nearly impossible to avoid having to communicate in Spanish in Miami. Everywhere you are sent to rotate, people (patients, nurses, even surgeons in the OR!) will be speaking in Spanish around you. You’ll get so much more out of your experience if you can understand and communicate with even the simplest phrases. You can still do the extra DXR case if you want, you just won’t get credit for it. It’s easier to get credit for the Spanish class than for the case (which is graded) anyway. Plus, the instructor is delightful and for the final class, she makes tres leches, which is delicious.

I hope this advice is helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.


January 17, 2010

If anyone who has been watching the disaster unfold after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti is compelled to donate to the relief efforts but doesn’t know where to do so, here’s a couple of places:

Doctors Without Borders/Medicines Sans Frontières

American Red Cross

And If You Don’t Know, Now You Know

October 29, 2009

Here’s what the White House has to say about health reform. Here’s info targeted to med students and healthcare providers.

Also, for extra-credit reading, check this out.

What do you think about the public option and health care reform in general?

<<a note for visitors – when people visit my actual house, I usually ask them to take off their shoes. It’s a quirk I picked up in Japan; it helps me keep my floors cleaner longer and really, it’s just how I like things done in my personal space. I don’t mind if people don’t take off their shoes in their own house because that’s really their choice, but in my domain,  shoes are left at the door – that’s how things go. If you’ve happened upon this blog, which is kinda like my virtual house, thanks for stopping by! With that said, I’m going to ask that if you’d like to comment on this particular post, please limit your comments to the parameters set by the question I asked.  I’m not the government and I’ve expressed neither support for nor aversion to the bill in its current incarnation. I’m just presenting a piece of information that I found interesting (to further the マイホーム analogy, think of it as a coffee table piece) and posing some questions about it. If you think the public option is ridiculous crap and can back up that opinion with other pieces of information (links, articles, inside info, etc.), feel free to share it. I’d love to know more about both sides of the argument. But no random rants, please. If your comment suggests you just stumbled in to track dirt all over my floor and not actually have an informed conversation about the public option or healthcare reform, I’m not going to approve it. よろしく!>>

<<p.s. grammar is a plus – English teachers (even former ESL ones) always notice.>>