Posted tagged ‘clinicals’

How to Survive Med School

June 10, 2012

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During my final rotation, I had an awesome attending who would introduce me to his patients and proudly inform them that I was about to “walk the line.” On Friday June 8th, I walked it, and even though my diploma is dated April 30th, I don’t think I really felt like I’d made it through med school until that ceremony. It was often fun and fascinating but med school was never easy. If anyone were to ask me what my advice would be to the students just donning their waist-length white coats, I’d tell them these three things: (more…)

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Operative Management – Surgery Core

September 26, 2011

Today is the beginning of my penultimate semester of medical school. It also happens to be the beginning of the second half of my surgery core. Up until this point, I’ve generally found something to enjoy about every rotation in which I’ve had the opportunity to participate. This time, it hasn’t been easy.

Surgery core at Wyckoff is divided into 6 two-week modules: Surgery Clinics, Day Call, Wound Care, OR, Ambulatory Surgery and Night Call. Clinic and Wound Care have been the least intense modules, generally allowing one plenty of time to study/de-stress in the evenings. As I mentioned before, day call is comprised of 14 days straight of twelve hour shifts (usually preceded by a week of clinic with no break in between). Night call is reportedly similar to day call but students are allowed to take one day off per week and are only required to attend morning lecture and grand rounds, not afternoon lectures, so as to rest up for the night shift and not go insane. One may have the opportunity to scrub in on an emergency operation during day call and/or night call but for the most part, the OR action primarily occurs during the OR and Am Surg weeks. Over the course of those four weeks, students are required to scrub in on at least 10 and observe at least 20 surgeries.

Part of the reason it’s been difficult to find things to enjoy over the past 6 weeks probably has to do with the general atmosphere of surgery, which while occasionally congenial (especially among the residents/interns), can be downright hostile. Things tend to be tense when you’re constantly in fear that you’ll be pimped to death or screamed at by an attending.* The expectation seems to be that we must know everything except how to actually perform surgeries. Everything else pertaining to bodies and/or diseases is fair game. Case in point: yesterday, two students in my group were drilled on Fournier gangrene while scrubbed in on a totally unrelated procedure. None of us had ever heard of Fournier gangrene until yesterday. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be a way to gauge one’s performance. We haven’t received feedback or grades on any of the assignments or quizzes we’ve had thus far and I’ve heard that hardly anyone makes it out with an A, which is pretty disheartening.

Nonetheless, there are a few cool things about surgery – I got to assist on a few chest tube insertions and staple the incision from an open appendectomy. Today, I’m going to observe a brain biopsy and scrub in on a BKA. I hope these little things will be able to sustain me for the next 5.5 weeks…

*Witnessing these incidents is also quite traumatic

Internal Medicine, その2

February 21, 2011

I can hardly believe that there is only one week left of my Internal Medicine rotation. While it does feel like I’ve been at Wyckoff forever, it also seems like time has flown by, especially with the (grade-determining) final exam only a few days away. It’s been a busy month for me so I haven’t had time to update as much as I would have liked, but here’s a brief description of how the second half of IM went for me.

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Christmas Cake

June 20, 2008

As far as most people are concerned, 26 isn’t one of the big birthdays. There are no milestones attached to becoming one year older than a quarter century – the best you get is maybe some nice cards and money from your parents and less hassle when you try to rent a car. However, there is a sort of significance to turning 26 in Japan – when a woman turns 26, she becomes what is known as a “christmas cake.”

Still tasty on the 26th?
Before I explain exactly what a Christmas cake is, I’ll have to explain a bit about how the Japanese observe “Western” holidays. It’s kinda trendy to celebrate Western holidays in Japan and some of the commercial biggies like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and more recently, Halloween, are pretty popular. The funny thing is, cultural significance sometimes gets lost on the way across the ocean and without the reason for the ritual, the ways in which the holidays are observed can seem a bit strange/wacky/hilarious to expats. One year when I was living in Hyogo prefecture, I saw Lovely Halloween Pocky at my local supermarket and was practically rolling on the floor because on the packaging for the pumpkin-flavored ones, a scary-looking jack-o-lantern was featured (okay) but on the strawberry ones, there was a strawberry with a jack-o-lantern face (um…) and on the melon ones, there was a cantaloupe with a jack-o-lantern face 😀 . They’ve since replaced melon with milk-flavored pocky and the package has a little ghost holding a pitcher of milk, so I guess they’re getting it.

Anyway, Christmas in Japan has absolutely nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with love and romance. Strangely enough, December 25th is one of the most popular days for visiting love hotels. There are even Christmas-themed love hotels – people can enjoy a little holiday spirit when they tryst all year long. For the most part, on Christmas, people generally snuggle up with their sweethearts and eat a delicious Christmas cake. The thing about a Christmas cake is that although it looks great, who wants one on the 26th?

Although antiquated, there still exists the view that a young lady should be married (or at least engaged) by 25 and that once she turns 26, no matter how lovely, successful or intelligent she may be, she’s starting to get stale (if she’s still unmarried and childless at 30, she’s a loser dog). 25 seems a bit young for matrimony to me, but I suppose I have begun to consider getting married and having a family a bit more seriously. I’m a person who likes to make plans and I always planned on being married by 30 and being a mom by 35 (before the maternal and paternal age effect risks spike). Of course now, considering my future medical career, I’ll have to squeeze wedding vows and childbirth in while completing my residency (although according to a pal here who shares the same birthday, the best time to get married and have children for med students is right before the beginning of clinical rotations. It also helps to marry a person whose work will allow him/her to take paternity/maternity leave). While I’m not quite ready to start perusing bridal magazines and picking out floral arrangements (well…the plan is to have white roses and ivy), I suppose I wouldn’t be opposed to an acceptable suit, were one presented by an acceptable young man.

Even though my cake has 26 candles, thanks to my lovely parents, most of the time, people assume that I’m around 19 or 20. If I continue to age so gracefully, when I actually am 30, I’ll still look 25, so I’ll be a loser dog in disguise!