Posted tagged ‘AICM’

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.

Half Crazy

October 27, 2009

A note to my Ross 後輩*: Miami might occasionally be breezy but don’t let anyone tell you that 5th Semester is a breeze. It’s week 7; we are officially in the latter half of the semester, and things have started to get crazy. After being brutalized by the midterm yesterday, I’ve been at my wit’s end trying to prepare for the slew of assignments due in the next week: a SOAP note (with a to-be-determined presentation date), a literature review (for which I am still scouring JAMA and NEJM to find research articles) and a 15-20 minute presentation on preeclampsia and eclampsia. Ahead lies the 45 minute full physical exam, the final and the Step. It’s enough to drive a person insane, or drive a person to doubt. Can I handle this? Am I smart enough for this? Can I make it through this? (more…)

ALF and PE guinea pigs

September 22, 2009

Yesterday, on my first visit to the assisted living facility (ALF), I managed to incur the wrath of the doctor in charge before we were even assigned patients! After we met Dr. L, one of the on-site physicians, he led us down the halls of the facility, peeking in to patients’ rooms and asking if they’d mind having a bunch of medical students mess with them. When he emerged from one, he shouted, “Anyone speak Spanish?” Even though I was, at one point, quite good at Spanish and had visualized myself conducting an interview so fluid and fluent Telemundo could’ve televised it as I lay in bed the night before, my anxiety got the better of me and I blurted, “…not well enough.”

“Don’t be a smart@ss!” Dr. L yelled, and tears sprang to my eyes. He came out of the room and fixed me with a frightening glare, his voice dripping with disdain as he told our faculty doctor, “I asked if they could speak Spanish and this one,” he pointed, “says, ‘Oh, not well enough!'” He inflected it with a girly additudinal lilt*, shaking his head. “Sounds like she should be a lawyer.”

I was mortified! “No, I didn’t mean…I’m sorry, I wasn’t talking about everyone, I didn’t mean them, I meant me, I don’t speak Spanish well enough to feel comfortable and do a good job, and I…” As I stammered out apologies, he chuckled.

“Well, here’s a patient for you.” Dr. L directed me and my partner to another bed in the room. “These two young ladies are medical students and they’d like to talk to you. Is that all right?” The patient agreed and Dr. L left us to introduce ourselves. When I made my introduction, the patient gave me a knowing smirk and said, “Oh, so you’re the lawyer.”

Blushing**, I shook my head. “Not really.” (more…)

Whale $#%! – AICM in Miami

September 15, 2009

Welcome to a new chapter of the chronicle! When I began 医者の卵, I was getting ready not only to embark on a career in medicine, but also on an adventure in another country. For 16 months, I studied the basic medical sciences at the Ross University campus in the Commonwealth of Dominica (again, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). It was certainly an experience – at times, exciting, at times, frustrating, at times, lonely, and yet, at other times, wonderful. I learned a lot during my time on Dominica and made a lot of friends. Luckily, most of us survived the basic sciences (even if it was by the skin of our teeth!) and, despite enduring some crazy trials and tribulations, we managed to get to 5th semester. The most satisfying part of making it through was knowing that we’d accomplished something. Even though we were technically only halfway through our medical education, we’d survived the worst Dominica had to throw at us and emerged stronger, wiser and better than we were when we arrived. However, at the end of the basic sciences, we knew we were destined to part ways. There are three sites at which Advanced Introduction to Clinical Medicine (AICM)–the transition module designed to bridge the basic and clinical medical sciences–is offered: one site is the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Ross teaching hospital in the capital city of Dominica. One is Synergy Health in Sagniaw, Michigan. The other is where I am now, sunny Miami, in the sizzling south of the sunshine state. (more…)