“Nate Does Not Have A Career In Critical Care”

Disclaimer: I am especially salty tonight because I have trudged one small step closer to the inglorious age milestone of 30, and have little to show for it except two aborted jobs, knee pain, and a shitty Mazda with an outstanding recall for premature airbag deployment.

Read on.

This month, I’m taking a hybrid course called Critical Illness, which as you might imagine focuses on the unique aspects of caring for the very sick or injured. We spend a week learning “skills” in our simulation center, followed by some combination of an ICU week and two weeks of case-based learning, similar to what we did first year. Continue reading

Step 2 Or March Madness…?

This past Wednesday, one of my closest friends, C., took Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). You may remember me writing about and taking the 9-hour Step 2 Clinical Knowledge test (CK) back in December… but did you know there was another half to that exam?

Clinical Skills is another lengthy exam, but it’s hands-on. During the test, you “see” twelve standardized patients – actors – who simulate a variety of medical conditions. Your job is to connect with the patient, wash your hands, speak English, and figure out what’s wrong with the actor. Continue reading

Up and Away

I only have one month of research left! Thank god. I can’t wait to get back to clinical medicine.

Medical school is a fascinating place. It’s bound to be; you’re taking 100 or so of the highest-stress, maximum type A personalities that exist and forcing them to attend class, scrap for grades (sometimes), and cohabitate for four years. If we had time for lives and drama, it would make a fantastic reality TV show. Continue reading

Resuscitation! (or, Impostor Syndrome II)

So it turns out that when you are on your research block you have absolutely nothing to write about. Patients are funny, residents are funny, and hapless medical students are hilarious, but there is absolutely nothing funny about research. My project is in the field of medical education, which I find intellectually stimulating and worthwhile but primarily involves attending meetings, reading journal articles that freely use phrases like “cognitive load” and “contextually embedded orchestration of skills,” and sitting in front of a computer. Continue reading

Stockholm Syndrome

According to experts, the five most painful things in the universe are:

  • Childbirth
  • Kidney stones (no, really)
  • Rounding on medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Vietnamese bamboo torture.

Number 4 is maybe my own invention.

As you may remember from “Return of the Phalanx,” about seven weeks ago I broke a small bone in my finger playing the world’s stupidest version of the world’s most entertaining and damaging sport, flag football. After my doctor confirmed there wasn’t any tendon damage, she referred me to physical therapy to “regain function.” Continue reading

Rules for Step 2

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, medical school is actually three different curricula in one.

There’s the Learn To Be A Doctor Curriculum, which is where you haphazardly learn to take care of people mostly by screwing up over and over again. This has almost zero connection to the rest of medical school, as the bulk of the Learn To Be A Doctor Curriculum is taught in residency. Not incidentally this is why medical students are often not allowed to Do Things, which as you’ll recall is practically the only thing I want to do. Things. Continue reading