Medical School:Have A Kit Kat…Take A Break!
In medical school, you adopt the ‘work hard’ culture, but it is equally important to remember the culture of relaxation. Sometimes, the moment you sit still, you feel a sense of guilt for not doing ‘something’. The truth is, in Medical School, there will always be ‘something’ for you to do. There is always work to do; this could be revision for an up-coming exam, research for a written assignment, follow-up work in the lab, staying after working-hours to practise a particular clinical skill, spending some time in theatre, preparing for your next tutorial/lecture/lab project – these demands do not include the extra-curricular activities you have picked up along the way or paid work. Sports, dance classes, creative workshops or conferences that require the submission of a paper/abstract/poster, etc. The list is endless. The list will continue to be endless. So it is import to relax and truly switch off. Put to one side the daily, weekly and monthly demands of medicine for a moment and just relax.
Have a break. Enjoy the break.
Photo Credit: Photo Pin
Medical Student Vs Student Doctor
Which do you prefer: Medical Student Vs Student Doctor?
How do you introduce yourself to patients and other doctors?
Does it really make a difference? Aren’t they the same thing?
We like – Student Doctor. It easily communicates to patients what profession you are training for. And it also gives you a subtle reminder:
Yes, I am training towards being a doctor, diagnosis diseases, treating diseases, prescribing drugs and caring for my patients.
Yes, I have already obtained medical knowledge and skills that will be of help the care of patients.
Yes, I am a work in progress, I do not know it all and I do not need to know it all at this stage, even if it were possible.
So, Medics’ Inn likes the term ‘Student Doctor’.
What do you think?
Starting Clinical Placements – What to know
Here are 3 things you should know before you venture into the practical world of clinical medicine. If you’re already on the wards/theatres/etc., it’s not too late – this will still help!
- You are a valuable member of the team! It’s easy to feel insignificant on a busy ward, ward round, clinic or theatre. But remember you are a valuable member of the team! With this thought at the back of your mind, stir up the courage to approach a member of staff (it doesn’t always have to be a doctor) and let them know who you are and what you want to do. E.g. “Hello, My name is Leo/Liz, I am a medical student in my third year. I will be spending the morning with the doctors and learning on the cardiology ward round. How can I help and get stuck in?” You will be pleasantly surprised with the responses you will receive.
- Be early, not on time, but early. Getting to your location 10-15 minutes early keeps you calm and prepared. You’ll also notice that, just because you arrived several minutes earlier, you will have greater learning opportunities.
- Remember it is a learning process; you are in a safe and perfect environment to learn from highly skilled professionals and kind patients. You will not be an expert at lumbar punctures, diagnosing aortic stenosis, taking a history or examining a patient on the first day! These are skills you will learn and continue to master throughout medical school and even after you start working as a doctor. Do not be too hard on yourself, enjoy it.
A subtle change in a phrase will change your outcome.
For one to succeed, one must work hard – this is a misunderstanding.
The word hard suggests the anticipated task is difficult, tough or problematic. Although, we may just be playing around with a thesaurus, let’s use the word challenge instead. The word challenge suggests the anticipated task is a trial, test or experiment that hopes to yield success, growth, development and change. Sometimes, a subtle change in a phrase will change your mindset. A subtle change in your mindset will change your actions. A subtle change in your actions will change your outcome.
Try using the word diligent instead, diligent means, showing careful and persistent work or effort.
A subtle change in a phrase will change your outcome.
Share your thoughts with us.
Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 2
To be told you have to repeat the year to remain in medical school is a scary thing, but having the option to repeat the year is an opportunity that is not provided to all medical students. Medics’ Inn have provided a few pearls of wisdom for our readers, we have gathered some advice from several medical students who repeated a year of medical school. Have a read of Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 1.
Let yourself feel rubbish for a while, your feelings are valid. Repeating the year is a big deal and it is not easy. Let yourself go through the journey. Failure is part of the human experience.
“My family are not supportive…”
It’s difficult to not take it to heart, it’s not right but it’s not your fault. They will come round eventually, but mean while find your support from elsewhere. Don’t bottle it up, there are other people who are genuinely concerned and there are lots of places to get support from.
“Is medicine still right for me?”
Talk to people about your concerns but make sure you frame your own thoughts first, the pros and cons. Intercalating or taking a year out may be beneficial. Give yourself as many options as you can. Have a think about these questions:
- What were the reasons you initially chose to do medicine?
- Could you see yourself working as a doctor several years (or decades) from now?
- What is stopping you from pressing on? Fear?
“I don’t want to be judged by colleagues, lectures, friends, family…”
If you’re being judged, that’s their problem, not yours. You cannot control what other people think about you, but you can control how you respond. Don’t hide away and don’t be scared of making friends in your new year.
“It will just be the same thing, and another year wasted …”
Use your old notes to help you. Try new things, join a new club, etc. It may be scary, but new experiences will tell you who you are as a person and not who you should be. With the right attitude, you will have a new found sense of freedom and there will be open doors of opportunity if you’re looking. You will develop resilience and courage. This experience can stop you from fearing failure.
At the end of your repeated year, ask yourself these questions and really thinking about your answers and what they mean to you. (It might help to write your answers down on a piece of paper)
- How did you feel when you first received this information?
- What was your greatest motivation?
- How have you used your repeated year to better yourself?
- What did you learn about yourself that you did not know?
- What were your greatest fears and how did you overcome these fears (if you have)?
Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 1
To be told you have to repeat the year to remain in medical school is a scary thing, but having the option to repeat the year is an opportunity that is not provided to all medical students. Medics’ Inn have provided a few pearls of wisdom for our readers, we have gathered some advice from several medical students who repeated a year of medical school. Look out for Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 2.
- Feelings of the following are normal: embarrassment, failure, shock, fear, loneliness, insecurity, pain, inadequacy, etc…
- Stop trying to rationalise why this has happened.
- Accept help, correction, advise from others, other students, teaching fellows, there is no shame in that, nor in repeating itself.
- Don’t become obsessed with the numbers, e.g. things like “rankings” – ranking is surmountable, and you will still get a job, top or bottom decile.
- Don’t be complacent, e.g. complacent with only making one change, or no changes, or just doing what you deem will get you just the 50% or will match the bare-pass you achieved last time!
- Mentally prepare yourself and even practise how you may or may not wish to explain your position, about why you are in this year group, and who you may or may not care to tell, because the most tactless to those with the best intentions may ask at the least convenient times. Not everyone needs to know your business, and similarly you don’t need to be ashamed. Remember that in a year or so, people will no longer care/ know about your detour
- Don’t compare yourself to others ever, whether they have or have not intercalated, know all the answers in teaching, get 100% in every e-biolab or quiz, are years younger than you, are first authors in the Lancet – don’t compare
- If you are ever, for any reason experiencing difficulties (health-related, personal and emotional) beyond the work of revision, during the year – do not miss the opportunity to submit extenuating circumstances before God-forbid, you may find yourself repeating anything!
- Don’t burn-out by setting unrealistic expectations of yourself. Seek help from friends, Faculty, GP, student advice service, if necessary!
Now, answer these questions and really thinking about your answers and what they mean to you. (It might help to write your answers down on a piece of paper)
- What is your greatest motivation in life?
- In the past, what were your greatest fears and how did you overcome them?
- What do you want to achieve in this year you will repeat?
Top Tips For Your Presentation!
Here are a few top tips for you to consider the next time you have an oral (PowerPoint) presentation!
- Know the FACTS! How long is your presentation? Does this include question time? Where will this presentation take place? Who is your audience?
- Timing, a simple formula: timing (in minutes) +/- 2 = maximum number of slides. E.g. For a presentation lasting 7 minutes, the maximum number of slides = 5 – 9 slides.
- Phrases vs. Sentences. Write phrases on your slides, phrases you will discuss or expand on. There is no point in writing sentence upon sentence for your audience to read. Let them pay attention to what you are saying! Let them hang on your every word!
- Important Pages (examples):
To download these slides click this link: Medics’ Inn Oral Presentation Template
- Labels & clarity! Label all graphs charts, etc. clearly.
- Highlighting & simplicity! If there is a lot of information in a graph/chart, draw your audience to the important parts. E.g. underlined text, text written in red, arrows pointing to the important features. But keep your slides as simple as possible.
- Anticipate Questions! What questions could your audience ask? What research will you need to do to answer these questions with sufficient confidence, evidence and understanding? Although, calm down, at your level no one expects you to be an expert, so an honest answer is always the way forward if stuck – if you don’t know, you don’t know!
- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Practicing will help you overcome nervousness and give you the confidence boost you need. Being well prepared is a good practise, not just for medical school, but for life!
These are just a few of our top tips! We know there is so much more! So please leave your own tip in the comment box!
Reputation and Ranking
Are educational performance measure (EPM) scores validation for all medical student needs? Should we just aim to rank in the top 10-25% of the year? Are the results of clinical and written exams predictor of your effectiveness as a future doctor?
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of medical school. It’s easy to be consumed by the surmounting pressure to exceed a standard. But the question to ask yourself is: How do you want to be remembered by your patients and colleagues?
Pick 2-3 words that sum up how you would like patients and colleagues to remember you e.g. safe and caring or efficient and honest.
Good educational performance is essential to pass medical school, but a good reputation is essential for life.
How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Medical Students
Ever wonder how to stand out of the hundreds of people in your year group? Here are 5 tips that can help you stand out in your teaching group, year group and medical school. These tips are not just limited to life in medical school, but can applied to most situations.
1. Be yourself. No one can be better than you at being you. There are particular attributes about your person that makes you special, pretending to be someone else hides your potential from yourself and others around you. Knowing who you are and appreciating your strengths and weaknesses is a great start to getting yourself noticed.
2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. A new club, hobby, extra curricular activity in an unfamiliar medical specialty or medical unrelated venture. Try it (as long as its safe), as you try new things you may notice a natural talent hiding somewhere. Getting involved in group activities will also give you the opportunity to meet new people who can help you along your journey.
3. Continue to do whatever you find yourself doing to your best ability. Every written assignment, verbal presentation, etc. try your very best whether or not it may contribute to your grade or assessment. This attitude develops a sound character that will ultimately be rewarded (eventually!).
4. Be open to constructive criticism. Especially from clinical fellows, peers, family members, and members of multidisciplinary team. These people may not conduct a formal assessments on your behaviour or skills but they make observations on a day to day basis. Taking on constructive comments from such people can help you perform better in formal situations.
5. Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness or sign of inadequacy, it is a strength. It shows you have good evaluation skills, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, make a judgement on these and seek help for the areas you are coming up short in. Asking for help can also open doors of opportunity. Develop this habit, it will save you a lot of headache, heartache, time, resits, money and so much more in the future.
These are our top 5 tips, we know there are so much more! So give us one of your tips in the comment box!