Wing of Zock “Chart Review” Blog Carnival, December 2013 Edition

chart_review (2)By Jennifer J. Salopek

Welcome to Chart Review, Wing of Zock’s monthly roundup of the best posts from academic medicine blogs. Our selections this month include shout-outs to several new blogs we’ve recently discovered, and are organized along the medical education continuum (sort of).

As prospective med students are beginning to consider the schools to which they might apply, the blog from Tour for Diversity in Medicine offers a post with advice for graduates of historically black colleges and universities. Shawnita Briggs, now a med student at Virginia Commonwealth University, writes, “You should be proud to be a part of a legacy that your ancestors fought for. Regardless of what others say about you or the school you went to, as long as you know that you will succeed AND are willing to put forth the work, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.” Inspiration indeed.

Once students hone in on the schools where they want to apply, they often visit and are shown around campus by a tour guide. On Aspiring Docs Diaries, blogger Jennifer writes that she enjoys being one such tour guide: “I am able to illuminate what I love most about my school and hopefully capture the energizing and supportive environment that I have come to live by on a daily basis as a second year medical student.”

*HUMOR ALERT* Next during that campus visit might come some in-person interviews. Northwestern University blogger Sai Folmsbee has tongue firmly in cheek as he posts, “Here is some medical school interview advice, idiots.” “Now, back when I was applying, the interview was simple: they would wheel out an unconscious patient, remove their heart, and you would have to re-attach the organ, all while explaining which historical figure you would most like to have lunch with,” he writes.

Crowdsourcing has come to blogging: The anonymous blogger at Skeptical Scalpel titled a post, “How to Prepare for Medical School,” then noted that his own school days were long past. He asked blog visitors to share advice with a newly admitted med student via the Comments section. Of particular interest to us here at Wing of Zock, several commenters suggested reading The House of God.

“The One Thing They Never Tell You About Medical School” is revealed by blogger Hammad Moses Khan on the Huffington Post. Click on through to find out what it is. (Khan should post a comment on Skeptical Scalpel, we think.)

The Resident Café blog offers up a handy post, the 2013-2014 Medical School Guide, which gives readers an overview of important milestones along the educational highway. Students who are in their third year will want to jump straight to The Doctor’s Tablet from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for sage advice on deciding on a specialty.

Whether the third year should be the final one is debated at Medicine and Social Justice. In his post, Josh Freeman asks, “Should medical school last three years? If so, which three?” Attention in the medical education field is certainly turning to an emphasis on developing competency rather than just accumulating seat time. In a post on the UMKC blog, writer Kelly Edwards reports on the lecture recently given by Kelly Caverzagie, MD, on that very topic.

Naturally, major life events can happen during medical school and residency: engagements, weddings, births, deaths. On the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine site, pathology resident Lani Kai Clinton, MD, writes that “there is no good time to become a mother” during medical education and training, but that it can be done and the female physicians who do so should be celebrated.

Admittedly, finishing medical school and entering residency or practice isn’t for everyone. But for some, medical school can be a great start for an altogether different career. Such was the case for Jeremy Pionke, a medical device engineer whose successful career is profiled on the University of Missouri Engineering blog.

Students who haven’t even begun to think about medical school are the topic treated by Paul Bergl, MD, resident blogger at the New England Journal of Medicine, in his post, “The Google Generation Goes to Med School: Medical Education in 2033.” Predicting that the “flipping” trend will spread from classrooms to rounds to clinical experiences, Bergl concludes, “Academic physicians will remain master artists, compassionate advisers, and a human face for the increasingly digitized medical experience.” At present, however, Microsoft Worldwide Health Senior Medical Director Bill Crounse, MD, gives medical schools a failing grade for health IT on HealthBlog. Crounse reports, “Just 64 percent of med schools currently allow physicians in training to use electronic medical records. And of those that do, only two-thirds are allowing students to actually write notes in the electronic record… Today’s medical students and residents are digital natives. Few aspects of their lives can be conducted without a smartphone or tablet within reach. Yet, we are teaching them to become physicians using paper and pen!”

Although not an academic medicine blog, we must close with a salute to the folks at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who followed students at the Medical College of Wisconsin through their gross anatomy class. The online multimedia presentation created by writer Mark Johnson and photographer/videographer Rick Wood is breathtaking and should be required viewing for all prospective medical students.

Chart Review is a monthly feature in which the editors at Wing of Zock highlight our favorite blog posts from the previous month. We focus on blogs about academic medicine, whether from the perspective of student, resident, faculty member, dean, or administrator. Medical schools and teaching hospitals provide fertile ground for innovative responses to health care challenges. We are pleased to highlight some of the best here, and hope you will send us your favorites as well. As always, we encourage cross posting.