× Women in Medicine Blogs & Diaries

starting med school...and a diary.

15 years 1 month ago #68511 by Drey
Wow, I've been shockingly bad about updating this. I made it through the holidays, but managed to spend 3 days in the Houston airport trying to get home to OH after visiting my father. If any of you ever turn on the weather channel, that was the morning where the anchorman was dressed in a parka standing in a middle of a blizzard talking about record snowfall at the airport I was trying to fly into. We couldn't get to Cincinatti, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis or Louisville. All flights were cancelled or full. So when they cancell three days worth of flights right before christmas, you have about 500 passengers trying to get on the 100 spots left on flights between then and christmas. Craziness. We actually ended up having to buy a ticket on another airline and switch airports to get home on time for christmas.

So now break is over and I've been back in school for two weeks, and I'm already sick of it. I'm not sick of the material so much as all the random hoops I'm still having to jump through. I cannot wait to actually get paid for all the work I do. I keep telling my husband that I want to be a housewife. He says I'd do well at it for about two weeks until I went stark raving mad. He's right of course, so I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.

On that note, I did pick up a job teaching the MCAT for the princeton review. They pay really well, and DH and I can really use the extra money, so I'm excited to start that.

Today I have some "patient encounters" as part of my Doctor-Patient relationship class, so I'm going to go pick out an outfit that looks good under my white coat. ;)


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15 years 4 weeks ago #68512 by Drey
A patient called me "doc" the other day. It was as I was giving him instructions for his medication and he was about to leave. He said "thanks doc". Immediately the thoughts lept to mind that I should correct him. I should stop and explain that No, I'm really not a doctor, and I don't know anything actually because I'm just a medical student, so please don't give me that sort of trust. But I remembered that I had already told him I was a student earlier, and he was walking out the door anyways, so I just smiled and told him to have a good day. It felt good being acknowledged like that, but I still feel apallingly unworthy of the title, even the shortened one, "doc".

I have a test tomorrow. :crossfingers: It's a lot of genetics, complex diseases, identifying certain genes and the diseases they go with, mechanisms of said diseases, protien pathways, and treatment of choice. It's going to be a tough one, but I've made it through half a year, I can make it through another, and then another and then another.....ad nauseum. And then I really will deserve the "doc" and I will probably still be uncomfortable with it!

I went and did a practice interview with a patient actor. It was unnerving because the patient is evaluating you while you're interviewing them, AND you have a preceptor watching you through this one-way mirror spying on you. When you're done, everyone comes in the room together and tells you what you did right/wrong. It's odd how much more jumpy you feel when you know you're being watched. I'm perfectly comfortable talking to patients at the free clinics, but once I know that they're judging me and someone else is watching, the experience is completely different.

Wish me luck with today's studying and tomorrow's test!


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15 years 4 weeks ago #68513 by Drey
So I passed my test today. The tests are computerized, so 30 seconds after you hit the "submit" button, you know what your score is. Those are always the worst 30 seconds of the entire test. 2 1/2 hour tests always wear me out. And there's always a disparity between what I studied, and what they asked. Like no questions at all on glucose or nucleotide metabolism that I painstakingly memorized, but quite a few questions on antineoplastic (anti-cancer) drugs that I neglected to study very well.

So, there are two shifts when we take tests. You either have a morning test or an afternoon test, and you're supposed to find out online the day before which shift you have to take. Was I able to access my schedule? Of course not.

You see, I recently decided to change my name to match my husband's. Apparently no one in the entire information systems office is competent at doing this. I spent about a week getting passed between the official university IT office and the Hospital IT office and the Health Sciences IT office just trying to be able to log onto course websites and get my friggin email to show up. GRRRRRR :banghead: Some of the women in my class call it "yet another marriage penalty."

Which is why three of us had no idea which test we were taking and we showed up this morning at the morning test time to find out. Of course I had the afternoon test time and had woken myself up at 5 to finish my studying before the test for no good reason. :mad: You would think that marriage is a fairly common occurrence during grad school and that it wouldn't take an act of congress to change one's name smoothly.

Okay, enough :banghead: :mad:

Yesterday we were discussing how to take a sexual history appropriately, and our preceptor gave a few of us "patient roles" to play while he picked unsuspecting members of our group to try to interview us. We all had a good laugh at everyone's expense. Those of us playing patients were asked to be total stereotypes: (arrogant player, guy ashamed to talk about erectile dysfunction, girl with serious problems who is too shy to talk about ANYTHING related to sex, and then finally, the role I was asked to play, angry lesbian.)

It was interesting to see how uncomfortable and frustrated people were interviewing these types of people. We found it was harder to talk about personal matters with someone who was ashamed about it than with someone who was acting very 'in your face' about it. It was also very hard to deal with if your patient started hitting on you (our "macho player" started on that with his unfortunate female interviewer). It was a good exercise to show us that there's more to being able to elicit a good history than simply our own comfort with asking the questions. Our comfort does not imply patient comfort.



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14 years 11 months ago #68514 by Drey
My school is so unorganized. It seems like they change the schedule on us every three days just for fun. And of course, no one can manage to post a schedule more than three weeks in advance, so scheduling something in our private lives is always a mess. I've been trying to get a dental appointment for a month but I can't get one because I don't know what my schedule will be in two weeks. Sigh.

So, I've been teaching MCAT general chemistry for a couple of weeks now, and it's really nice to feel totally comfortable with the subject material as a break from the microbiology we're currently doing. It's nice to feel like I am teaching something I'm prepared to do, and that they might actually be learning something valuable from me.

I find that it's hard to teach some premeds though, since they are looking for any reason to catch you in a slip-up and some of them have a serious superiority complex. It's not everyone, just the rare few, but they make me want to shake them and tell them I hope they never get into medical school. Really, I think that there ought to be peer or student reccomendation letters along with the faculty ones to get into medical school. I think you must have convinced your fellow students that you are a reasonable human being before you're allowed to practice medicine.

I'm going to start my first "preceptorship" on Friday, which means that I basically shadow a doc but I do histories and vital signs and such. It's supposed to be a one on one teaching experience and I'm looking forward to it. I have a pulmonary specialist, so that should be interesting, but I have no idea what he's going to be like, since the only interaction I've managed to have with his office so far is getting shuttled to the secretary's voice mail. :rolleyes: Oh well, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he's a very nice doc....just....busy.

We recently had to watch videotapes of ourselves interviewing our standardized patients. Now, I thought I had reasonable interviewing skills, but I HATE watching myself on video. I'm not sure there's anyone that likes themselves on tape, but I'm the type of person that doesn't even like to hear my own answering machine message. Ugh. I just hope my patients see me as better than I look on video.

I went and visited my freind's new baby yesterday. He is just adorable, and it makes me summon all my willpower to tell myself "Not Yet!" to the baby bug. I settled for offering to babysit anytime they wanted. ;)

In good news, DH had an interview last week for a real engineering job, and has a second interview this week! :goodvibes: Sooo, we're desparately hoping, and at the same time trying not to get our hopes up to much, but it would be FANTASTIC for us if he gets this job. :crossfingers: If you ladies get a spare moment, please send some happy thoughts, good karma, prayers, wishes and dreams our way.

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire"


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14 years 10 months ago #68515 by Drey
So, DH did not get the job, although right now he's picked up a temorary job filling in for someone who had a heart attack. He's much happier working in his field even though it's a major commute, and his mood is much improved. Maybe this is the first step to a nice full-time job. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I did finally get ahold of my preceptor, and he's very nice, although his clinic schedule is in perpetual conflict with my class schedule. I've been able to go a couple of times, and it's been interesting, although I am still left feeling as if I am slightly less helpful than a puppy that follows you around. It was interesting last Friday. I showed up and the doc wasn't there yet, but his nurse and a nurse practicioner were there. It was the NP's second day on the job, so she and I were both looking at each other like uhh...now what? His nurse (who probably had more medical knowledge than the other two of us combined at the moment, or at least had more clinical confidence/competence) had to hand us both charts and tell us to go start interviewing patients. It went okay after that, but I'm sure the nurse thinks we're nuts. It was nice to have someone else feeling just as stupid as I did though. ;)

I am going to Madagascar this summer to visit a good friend in the Peace Corps, and I bought my tickets this week. So, like a good traveller, I went and saw my Dr. She gave me several vaccines, and oral Typhoid vaccine which has to be taken in several doses over a week. The amusing part is it has to be refrigerated, so I have a little bottle of typhoid chilling in my fridge. :boggled:

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14 years 9 months ago #68516 by Drey
I know, I know, I'm terrible about updating the diary. :blush:

The next 12 weeks are all neurology for us. We've started with neuroanatomy, and it is HARD. I've never had neuroanatomy, neuroscience, or even a psychology class before, so I feel like I'm drowning in a big lake of CSF. I expect once we get past all of the anatomy and various nuclei, the neuro diseases will be cool. I've liked infectious diseases best so far though.

One thing that pleases me about the Neuro block though is that the faculty for neuro is actually majority women. :)

It's hard to believe I'm 3/4 finished with year one of medical school, I feel like I still have soooo much to learn.

We are doing an addiction module in our "patient centered medicine" course, and we have to go to an AA meeting to fulfill a requirement. I am interested to go to the meeting but I feel as though it's going to be awkward for me to go and say "No, I'm not actually an alcoholic, I just want to watch you guys". Sounds to me like lab rats or the zoo. I feel as though I'm being very intrusive.

I'm hosting a shower next week for a friend of mine who is getting married in June. She is getting extremely stressed about it, and it makes me happy that I'm already an "old married woman" that doesn't ever need to go through THAT again. :D She's becoming a minor bride-zilla, but I'm far enough away that I don't have to put up with it that much. Oh the honor of being a bridesmaid :rolleyes:

My little (step)brother is giving my mom and stepdad all kinds of trouble. He's a junior in high school and has chronically bad grades and no motivation. They've tried everything (except spanking, you can't spank a teenager ;) ) and he just won't be motivated. My theory is that his main problem is a lack of discipline when he was younger. He lived with his mom until he was 12, and she let him do whatever he wanted and sent him to a school where they didn't believe in giving grades. Sigh.

It also doesn't help that I'm in medical school and my older brother is in graduate school for electrical engineering. I'm afraid little brother gets compared to the two of us, if not outright, at least unconsciously by the parents, and probably by himself as well.

It's frustrating because he isn't unintelligent, he just isn't willing to work for good grades. He wants to be an architecht, and I've tried talking to him and telling him that he needs to do really well in math and also art if he wants to do that, but it's like it whistles right through his head. We talk to him about needing good grades to go to college, etc etc, but I think he just resents the intrusion. I'm not saying college is for everyone, he could certainly go to vocational school or do something else, but he doesn't seem interested in ANYTHING.

So that's been frustrating my mom and the rest of the family. You don't want to give up on a kid, but at what point do you have to step back and let him make his own mistakes? I don't know. :no:

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