When I was a postbac student shadowing doctors in the hospital, I learned that medical centers have a status hierarchy all their own. It resembles a cult, actually. I wrote about this in “Medicine Dress Code:” medical students wear short white coats, residents have slightly longer coats, and attendings – highest on the seniority ladder – have near-wizard length, Merlin-style white robes. I have no idea where this custom originated or why it persists, but it is helpful in quickly indicating who you don’t want to irritate.
What I didn’t realize is that the medical world goes further into cult-dom than I originally thought. In fact, medicine has its own language entirely. Continue reading →
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently in the middle of the “Homeostasis” block, where we cycle through systems of the body – the heart, the kidneys, and the lungs. An integral part of most medical educations involves something called “organ recitals.”
An organ recital is a session where small groups of med students cluster around a pathologist and a cart. The cart is filled with organs, all covered by smelly, formalin-soaked rags. The expectation with organ recitals is that you come prepared to apply your Powerpoint knowledge of anatomy to real, excised organs. Continue reading →
The past two weeks have been hard, hence the absence. We’ve been chest-deep in cardiology – everything from normal functioning of the heart to congenital defects to arrhythmias to drug treatments. And we still have a week to go. One could say the amount of material is, uh, disheartening, but that would be a bad pun.
(No worse than the chest-deep one in the first sentence, but you didn’t catch that one, did you?) Continue reading →
(I guarantee you this is not what it sounds like.)
Last week, we began a new unit, called “Homeostasis.” I am wholly unclear what “homeostasis” means, but it sounds important. The previous unit was all about the various infections you could catch and how your body tried and/or failed to fight them off; this unit is about the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
[Note to my classmates reading this: I know this isn’t exactly what’s in your lecture notes. Shut up and smile. Then go back to studying Th2 cells, because we both know you don’t know them.]
[Note to my mom: don’t read this, you won’t sleep until Thanksgiving.]
Hi. My name is Nate, and I’m a medical student.
This week, my ninety-nine classmates and I are about to take the final exam for our second block. It’s called Microbes and Immunity, and can be briefly described as “how your body fights off infection, and by the way here are some examples of the thousands and thousands of different ways you can get sick and/or die.” Continue reading →
I’ve written before in “The First Patient!” that a major component of the medical school curriculum is the physical diagnosis course. PDX, as it’s called, is a long-term course that teaches medical students the hands-on skills needed to examine patients. It’s kind of important. Continue reading →
Part of my school’s central mission in educating medical students is to keep its students well. We have built-in retreats, access to mental health resources, and a variety of clubs designed specifically to promote wellness. The capstone of the program is this: once a year, the entire school comes together to compete in an almost-two day competition called College Cup. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re divided into four “colleges,” Hogwarts-style, primarily for the purpose of small group learning and logistics. But during College Cup, people don their colors, swag out with Thunderstix and tanks and masks (?) and Braveheart-style body paint, and yell themselves hoarse. Continue reading →