THE ULTIMATE MEDICAL GIFT GUIDE: STUDENTS, RESIDENTS, DOCTORS, NURSES, PAs & BEYOND

Okay everyone, the holiday season is upon us, so what better a time for me to curate a medical gift guide list of epic proportions than now?! I have hand selected dozens of products appropriate for the tastes and humour of medical professionals across a spectrum of specialties, practices, and styles. I can say with full conviction (as a medical student in my third year) that I would be thrilled to receive any of the below for Christmas, my birthday, graduation or any other notable occasion deserving of a specially selected present. Except maybe the tooth bracelet, I’ll leave that one for the dentists. This post is so long that I have broken it up into sections so that you may skip and scroll past whichever categories you believe unsuitable for the recipient whom you are shopping for. Simply click the picture you are interested and a new tab will open where you can view the details and make the purchase!

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A SIMPLIFIED DIAGRAM OF THE PATHWAY THROUGH MEDICINE

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I’ve written a text post – blog style –  instead of making a video. I was asked via Twitter to explain the pathway of medical school in the USA. This is a question I am asked online, but more frequently by friends and family who can never remember the complexities of my academic program. I have always wished there was a comprehensive infographic out there that I could simply hand over to anyone asking. This morning (let’s be honest, I was totally procrastinating) I decided to draw one up for myself, and for all of you out there who have been waiting for the same thing! Below is the JPG format, but if you would like to download a PDF copy, click here. Enjoy!

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PROS AND CONS OF STUDYING MEDICINE ABROAD

tumblr_np5z69nWTt1rc9mw1o1_1280I would like to start this post by saying that studying medicine abroad is a great way to go if attending an American or Canadian school isn’t feasible for you, but it is not the best possible option. Unfortunately, stats show that American IMGs have a 60% chance of being considered for residency interviews in the states, and non-US IMGs (ie. Canadians) have an even lower likelihood of being considered, at 48%. This is why it is very important to consider every possible outcome before enrolling in medicine abroad (if you plan to work in North America, that is). That being said, I understand that for many of us, passing all the requirements to get into medical school at home can be difficult. For me, I would have had to re-do my undergrad and focus on the sciences – or at least spend another 2 years taking a load of pre-requisite courses. For others, achieving the outstanding GPA required for most med schools is unrealistic due to full-time jobs, kids, or family needs. All of this being aside from the required high MCAT scores. One of the largest factors stopping students from attending med school at home seems to also be the exorbitant tuition fees demanded from the first year of medical school alone (think rent, supplies, and textbooks on top of every day expenditures and then add tuition). Continue reading

MEMORIZING VS. UNDERSTANDING

I’m finaltumblr_lte7dhRyr91qbsx6do1_500 (1)ly in the last stretch of MD1! Exams are over and went extremely well, thankfully, considering that week of studying beforehand was pure hell. Among the many things I’ve learned while studying medicine, one outstandingly important tidbit of wisdom I can share with future students is the importance of understanding the material you are learning as you memorize it. Some students will tell you that memorizing material without understanding it is impossible. I disagree. It’s perfectly feasible, however doing this hardly lends to USMLE prep, 16 months (or 2 years for American med grads) down the road. Due to the nature of the material we learn in med, much of it can be crammed a week or two before the block. In classes like anatomy, embryology, radiology or ethics, where the concepts aren’t difficult to understand, all that is required to do well on exams is memorization. What’s the catch, though? We forget facts that register in our brains as meaningless! The important thing is to make facts meaningful by understanding them. By relating them to other concepts, by applying them to practical situations, and by visualizing how they can be implemented off our note sheet and in the real world. When we do this, recalling 1 fact from the 1000s learned throughout the basic sciences becomes a simple process of eliminating unrelated principles. Continue reading

ON STAYING MOTIVATED

eceb2040e7b07e87f6e05b6b52f38664 As exams are fast approaching (again), I’ve been struggling to find the motivation required for me to dive into all this material. The one thing I’ve realized about studying med is that the hardest part isn’t in understanding the material, but rather accepting that it’s all I’m going to be looking at for the next several months of my life. In the long term, 16 months is no time at all. However it can be so difficult to visualize the end goal when you’re 10 slides into learning a 100 slide lecture, 1 of 20 for one class, during one block. On days like today, where I become endlessly distracted by the myriad of articles, news updates, images, tweets and videos presented to me by various media, it’s necessary to take a chunk of time to get out of the books and do my own thing. However, days like today seem to happen more frequently than not and I’ve been frustrated with my inability to find fun in my studies. All that I’m learning is so fascinating! But there is so much to learn that I barely have time to scrape the surface of many topics worth looking into, reading papers about, and grasping a full understanding of. Continue reading