Accepted.com Webinar Tomorrow

Applying for medical school is something you only want to do once. There are so many hoops to jump through, so much paperwork to organize and deadlines to meet. Not to mention, it’s super expensive. Accepted.com is hosting a webinar tomorrow night to help you prepare to do it the right way the first time!

Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s

success!

Join our friends over at Accepted for a live webinar on Wednesday, May 18th at 5pm

PT hosted by one of their senior admissions consultants, Alicia McNease Nimonkar.

Learn how you can increase your chances of getting accepted. Save your seat today!

Register for Create a Winning AMCAS Application now!

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Rotation: Elective Month in Pediatrics!

Halloween at the children’s hospital–I was an aquarium and I gave away my fish stickers to kids!

Name/Location of Clinical Rotation

Elective time! At the children’s hospital! So fun!

I wound up going a different route than most students. A lot will use their elective time for vacation or research, or multi-week rotations in one area, or a combination of these. I spent one week in four areas, so that I could see as many different things as possible. I spent with on Heme/Onc, Wards, PICU, and ID, all at the children’s hospital.

What did I like most about this specialty?

So many things! There were a lot of things to learn about on Heme/Onc. I saw lots of different blood dyscrasias as well as super-rare forms of cancer (bonus–the kiddos were all doing well with their treatments, too!). In the PICU I saw a lot of rare diseases and some severe traumas. I learned a lot about ventilator settings in the PICU. On wards, I learned how the teams flowed and I thought that would really help in January when I finally get to be on my pediatrics rotation. In ID, I got to be in the hospital as well as in the immunology clinic, which was super cool.

What did I like least about this specialty?

There wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t like about the specialty itself. If I had done two week stretches in just two areas, I think I could have taken on more responsibility for patients. With only a week, it was hard to follow a patient.

Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like?

One of the reasons I chose to split up my elective time the way I did was so that I could see a lot more than I would see on wards alone when I got to my pediatrics rotation. On the pediatrics rotation, you get to spend three weeks in an outpatient setting and three weeks on wards, or inpatient. You don’t get to see any of the subspecialties, or PICU/NICU care, or anything like that. So by splitting up my elective time, I got a view of what else lies inside of pediatrics that 3rd years usually don’t see.

Did my interests, values, kills and personality fit with this specialty? If yes, how did they fit? If not, why might they not be compatible?

Absolutely. All of the people were so friendly, even the sick kiddos. I loved working with them and their families. I love how the children’s hospital is also heavily involved in the community. It was such a great experience.

What are the possible practice settings exist for this specialty? Do any of them interest me and do I know enough about them?

Inpatient, outpatient, general practice, subspecialties… it’s got it all, only with kids. I really liked the critical care component and am excited to get more exposure to that type of practice.

What info do I still need?

I still need my general pediatrics experience, of course.

Has my perception of this specialty changed? If yes, how?

Nope, not a bit. The people are fun, hardworking, passionate people and I absolutely loved their commitment to children’s health and advocacy, not just medicine.

Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing this specialty?

It has definitely helped to solidify my passion for working with kids and their families.

Right now, how interested am I in this specialty?

I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this elective rotation. I loved that I got to see so many subspecialties since we don’t get any subspecialty exposure during our pediatrics rotation. I already feel like  I have found “my tribe”, and I cannot wait to get to be a clerk in pediatrics!

What information do I still need to evaluate this specialty? Any other comments or reflections?

I am so glad that I spent my 4 weeks of elective time in pediatrics. One week in a unit wasn’t enough time to really impress the attendings for future reference letters, but I did make a lot of great connections, learned a ton, and made me super excited for my pediatrics rotation at the beginning of the new year.

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When You Run Out of Stories to Tell

Silence. For months now. And not because there has been a lack of events, but merely because I believe my stories have left me for a time.

There is so much I want to say, but I cannot. Some stories are too heartbreaking, and lately, I’ve witnessed a lot of those kinds of stories. HIPPA is a wonderful thing, but there needs to be an outlet for when we need to talk about the things we see, the things we experience with patients that take up such a large part of our day, that integrate into ourselves, that we carry along with us.

I’ve found myself longing for many things in the past few weeks. I am not one to say that I want things, at least, not physical things. But now, I want. I want to be able to talk about the things that are traumatic that make me need an outlet.

However, those stories can do harm. Harm to those that don’t understand. Harm to those that listen. Harm to me in reliving the details.

There are so many stories to tell. Some are just not mine to share.

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Upcoming Webinar with Accepted.com

For all my premed friends out there, the MCAT is the one big obstacle that stands in your way of going to med school. It’s one of the big things that will make or break your interview season. Do it the right way the first time and blow past that hurdle. Accepted.com is hosting a MCAT seminar on April 5th:

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Stay Away from these 5 MCAT Offenses!

Prepare for the MCAT exam armed with the information and advice you need to ace it. Earn a score that will make you and your target med school proud!

Join our friends over at Accepted on Tuesday, April 5th at 5pm PT/8pm ET as they welcome their guest speaker, Alec Lee, co-founder of MPrep, to the podium for a phenomenal webinar, 5 MCAT Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make.

Your future is calling. Make sure your MCAT score allows you to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor.

Register for 5 MCAT Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make now!

Register here.

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Match Week 2016

Yesterday, 4th year med students around the country learned whether or not they matched into their desired field. On Friday, they find out where they’re spending the next 3-7 years of their lives as they continue their training. I am so excited for each and every one of them…. But also terrified that I’m up next.

I’ve registered for my 4th year classes and rotations. I’ve got all of my recommendation letters save one. My research is slowly wrapping up. I’ve registered for Step 2. My Personal Statement is in the works. 

This is really happening.

Last night I dreamt that I only got one interview and I woke up in a panic. Not cool.

This next year is going to be one wild ride.

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So, So Fast

Guys… this is it. The doors are closing. And opening.

The first two years of medical school, I thoroughly enjoyed how open everything was. Back then, I could have been ANY type of doctor that I wanted.

Doors start to open and close for the first time around the time we get our Step 1 scores back. A higher score means we can daydream about the super-competitive stuff, or the not-so-competitive specialties but in highly-sought-after locations or top-tier programs. Lower scores may mean kissing some daydreams goodbye,  or opening up plans for parallel applications.

Then third year hits, and we try to figure out what we really want to do. Maybe surgery wasn’t want we thought it would be. Maybe Internal isn’t as procedural as we had hoped. Maybe we don’t like the small talk of seeing patients in a clinic. Specialties get bumped up or down the list.

In December, we had our first classwide meeting with our Dean’s Letter (MSPE) writer and the opportunity to meet with Program Directors/ Assistant Program Directors/Chief Residents to learn about how to prepare for residency applications in their area of expertise–known at our school as Mastering Career Planning. There should be more of those types of meetings in the not-so-distant future. This was the first time we got to sort ourselves by specialty, which was interesting since we were less than halfway through with third year.

Now, things are getting serious. We have scheduled our individual meetings with Dr. Mike who will write our MSPE letter. (I’ve already had my meeting… lots of good info and lots of things to think about and start doing!) We also have our individual meetings to start planning and scheduling our 4th year (eeeeeeeek!!!!). I’ve now completed my Pediatrics rotation and I absolutely know that is what I want to do with my life, so I am okay with all other doors closing. I’m terrified and excited all at the same time. I’ve been gathering tips and advice from 4th years and residents about applying to Pediatrics. I’ve started my Personal Statement. I have my first letter writers for the recommendation letters that I’ll need. I am starting to look more deeply into what programs I want on my list and getting to know the individual programs a little better to see if I really want to apply to so many. (David is getting antsy, staying in one place so long. I am too. The Ladybug isn’t is school yet. I am excited that the Match process could literally put us anywhere in the country for the next three years of my training. I’m telling ya, excited and terrified all at the same time!)

Guys…. it’s going by so, so fast. I feel like there is no way that I am ready for all of this yet. There is so much stuff that I still don’t know (or can’t recall, that I SHOULD know, or feel like I should know.)… and I’m going to be applying for my first job this September.

I just want to Match. If you pray, or send good thoughts to people…. be thinking of my class as we approach all of the stressors of 4th year and this convoluted process that decides our first jobs. I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you.

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Wearing All the Hats

Hats. I wear several. It’s hard to keep track of them all. Let me tell you how today went.

I’m on my Family Medicine rotation, and I’m spending the first two weeks (out of six) at a local clinic. Three of my classmates are also at this clinic for the two weeks. At this particular clinic, we get 4 half-days off to study. This morning was my first half day off.

First, I still got up before 6am to get ready for the day. I packed my daughter’s daycare bag with breakfast and snacks, got dressed for the day, and then got her up, got her dressed, and out the door we went to daycare. When I got back home, I cleaned the kitchen, put up one load of dishes and started another load, started laundry, took out the trash, and rearranged my kitchen cabinets (the place was seriously a mess and I couldn’t stand it anymore!).

Once that was done, I did some things I needed to get done: sifting through emails. Fourth year is rapidly approaching and we’ve been bombarded with emails about scheduling 4th year, writing our personal statements, meeting with our advisors and our MSPE letter writers, etc, so there have been a lot of emails with a lot of important dates attached. So I filed away all of the ones I was done with, updated my planner, RSVP’d to events, set up meetings with advisors, that sort of thing. I then did some of my fun things like edit an article for in-Training, submit Annual Meeting programming ideas to my AMA Committee, etc. Then I sat down to study for a bit.

For the past couple of weeks, my back and shoulder have been killing me so I booked a massage for this morning to see if that could work out my tight muscles since even yoga hasn’t been helping. After my appointment, I grabbed a quick lunch and made my way to the clinic. We saw 6 patients before the end of the day (not bad for a half day, as several of them required quite a bit of time to address all of the problems).

Tonight, my school’s GHHS group hosted “Compassion Rounds”, which was a great meeting on self-care and wellness that was a great reminder of why I came to medical school, and gave me a lot of things to think about, in terms of how I treat myself while I’m going through this process–I always feel like I am failing at at least one of the things that I do.

By the time I got out of the meeting, it was 7:30pm. We really needed groceries and I missed my hubby and the Ladybug, so we all went to the grocery together for a quick trip. Once we got home, the hubby put away the groceries while I gave the Ladybug a bath and dressed in her PJ’s. I then took a shower, paid bills, balanced my checkbook (all that “adulting” stuff, and worked a few of the Case Files cases for Family Medicine.

This day has felt like three individual days. I still didn’t get everything done that I wanted–I didn’t make it to the gym today. I usually go either super early on my days off, or after the Ladybug goes to bed during the week. I didn’t get to study as much as I hoped today since I did need to do some “life” things, but I am ok with that, since I got so much of the “life” stuff done.

Today I also read a short article titled “I’m a Mom, Not a Martyr.” It was a great article; it addressed so many of the feelings that I’ve had while trying to go to school and be a good wife/mom. I do all of these things because I love all of them. I love being a mom. I love taking care of my family. I love spending time alone with my husband. I love going to the gym and having my free time. I love writing and editing. I love being a medical student. I’m exhausted, but I’m also extremely happy. Some days, I get so frustrated. Some days, I just want a nap! And it’s all ok! I’m not a martyr, I’m not a saint, I’m not superwoman, I’m just me and I’m doing what works. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s not. Being a medical student is not nearly as impossible as I had originally thought way back when I first got my acceptance. I thought I would spend every waking minute (and give up sleeping, too, I thought) to be totally consumed with medicine. That’s not how it has been at all, and we are all three thriving. There have been plenty of struggles, plenty of tears, but also plenty of laughs and smiles and joy. It’s all about adjusting and rolling with the punches. Today was long and convoluted and I wore all my hats at different times–and it was a great day!

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Get Accepted to Med School with Low Stats: Accepted.com Webinar This Week!

I applied to med school four times. FOUR times. Far too many. Lots of people thought I should just get over it and go on with life. I met with advisors who couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t accepted, time and time again. I tried strengthening my application by every means possible: volunteering, publishing research, earning a Master’s degree, taking extra science courses… anything that would show my commitment. I didn’t have ‘low stats’, but something was obviously not working to my advantage. I knew a lot of people in the same boat, and lots of premeds that worried that their stats would be so low that they’d never get to pursue their dream.

Do you think you fit into that category? Accepted.com is hosting a webinar TOMORROW to discuss how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Don’t miss it! See below for details!

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Think Low Stats & Med School Acceptance Don’t Mix?

Think again!

Low scores and med school acceptance don’t need to be mutually exclusive. There are things you can do to boost your chances of getting into medical school…even with a low GPA and/or MCAT score!

Don’t let your weaknesses get the best of you. Learn how to highlight your strengths and get accepted when you attend Accepted’s upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats, next week on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST.

Reserve your spot by registering now!

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Abaton 2015

  

Relationships with patients have always held a special interest with me. It is quite often that I go looking for essays and poems about doctors’ experiences, to learn from them how to be a better physician and how to cope with the things we deal with every day.

Years ago, I stumbled upon a little publication in medical humanities, and I told myself that someday I’d get a piece of my writing published in it. This year marks the third year I’ve had a piece accepted and I’m still as thrilled as the first time. Des Moines University publishes Abaton annually, and I always enjoy reading the pieces they select. The current issue, in addition to the previous issues, can all be found here. 

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Rainbow

  
Internal Medicine: mostly plain black

Surgery: What’s a stethoscope?

Neurology: an even mix of different colors

Pediatrics: “I just got my new stethoscope! It’s rainbow!!” 😀

I’ve loved my first week of outpatient peds. I am, most definitely, a pediatrician at heart.

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