Our roundup of May blog posts from the world of academic medicine contains, as you might expect, many congratulatory and advisory messages for this year’s medical school graduates. The wisdom conferred on them by various student, resident, and physician writers ranges from the practical to the pleading. Herewith, our selections:
On Dharmaraj Karthikesan’s eponymous blog, he recounts the recent experience of running into a former student who was clearly exhausted and disillusioned: “[H]e looked like a man who has totally given up on being a doctor.” Karthikesan uses the occasion of this encounter to urge, “Dear Doctors, Be Kind to Each Other,” noting especially that “bullying is not a necessary evil for training doctors.”
The folks at Academic Life in Emergency Medicine offer practical advice for new residents that was crowdsourced from more than 100 Chief Residents. In “Dear Residents: 10 Things Your New Chiefs Want You to Know,” the list includes items that underscore the importance of trust, teamwork, and professionalism.
The anonymous physician who blogs at Medicine from the Trenches suggests that the most valuable skill to develop and hone in the era of the electronic medical record is the accurate, comprehensive creation of a patient history—a great foundational skill for all new physicians to know. The writer recommends that the doctor think of him- or herself as a beat reporter, asking great questions, making keen observations, and taking mental notes. Journalistic skills such as making sure the spelling of the patient’s name is correct are important. Note that the technology can hamper the doctor-patient relationship:
“If your patient feels as if you are so rushed or that you are not interested in working with them, i.e., you are more focused on getting your note in the computer, then they have a propensity to stop trying to communicate well with you.”
Roheet Kakaday, a student at OHSU who blogs at The Biopsy, notes that a friend recently called him a “Renaissance man.” The Venn diagram Kakaday drew that shows himself at the intersection of engineering, medical, and creative interests is enlightening and, with the recent changes to the MCAT, likely to represent more similarly multifaceted medical students in future.
Writing at Transforming Medical School, USC School of Medicine Greenville student blogger Laura Simon likens her medical education to the distance swimming she did as a high school and undergraduate student. Her specialty, the mile race, was 66 laps and typically took about 16 minutes. When she feels tired or burned out in med school, Simon writes, she’s able to get in touch with the passion that keeps her going: “Medical school, like swimming… requires passion, work ethic, inspiration, commitment, excitement, humility, a little bit of talent, a little bit of crazy, with some fear, desire, and love for good measure.”
In “My Life As a Call Girl,” posted at Mothers in Medicine, practicing ob/gyn blogger RH offers some great advice for call nights. Noting that she spends approximately a quarter of her life on call, she offers such wise tips as “Don’t indulge in the 3 am donuts,” “Don’t schedule appointments” such as haircuts and other personal services, and “Do know your limits.”
Finally, the anonymous blogger at Medical State of Mind offers all manner of advice for prospective medical students in “Mailbag: Mid Year Edition.” Answering questions ranging from course selections in undergraduate school, to references for summer programs, to struggles with organic chemistry, the blogger deals deft answers. Our favorite, however, comes in response to a question about the necessary skills and characteristics for a future doctor. Read the post to find out what @MedicalState had to say.
Chart Review is a monthly roundup of posts from 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.