25 Faces (reblog)

I stumbled upon this awesome piece on Buzzfeed by Aemun Reza called “25 Faces Everyone Who Went To Medical School Will Remember.”

Check it out.  It is worth the click and the laughs.

My favourites (and most common expressions) are number 9, 15, 22 and 25.  But seriously, I think I have made all of these faces at one point or another.

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How Did That Happen: How I Got Through Med School Orientation

I realized today that it is about time for med school to be starting up again.  It blows my mind that about a 6 years ago, I hopped on a plane with 4 giant suitcases and my drugged mother (she was hopped up on cough syrup) to move to the town where I did med school.  Interestingly, I am leaving today for that same city to visit some friends and attend a conference.

I had been there twice before.  Once for my interview and once on a whirlwind room renting hunt.

To be honest, I was less scared of moving or even starting med school.  The thing that produced the most anxiety in me was orientation.

Yes, you got that right… Orientation.

I mean, yes, of course med school was terrifying and being told some of us WILL fail in orientation did not help.  Each first had its own level of terrifying… First lab, first exam, first standardized patient.  But orientation still wins in my books.

Thus for all of you shy, introverted (I say both because they are different) new to everything about a place people, here is my How Did That Happen? for the week.  How I Got Through Med School Orientation.stethoscopes1

I know some people love that kind of stuff.  Socials, dances, sporting events.  Not so much my scene.  I get that some people consider these sorts of events a highlight.  Or at least they don’t dread them. I dread them.  That’s just how I roll.

My med school took the whole orientation thing seriously.  I’m talking a full week of stuff.  And it was “mandatory.”

Seriously, mandatory “fun”?  Sounds like cadet camp all over again (seriously, they had these evenings where we were obligated to attend a “fun” activity like sports (ew) or the zoo (okay the first time, but it was a pretty lame zoo) or a movie (probably a bad one).  We called it mandatory fun night.  It was funny because it was by far not the most fun night of the week (dances or concert nights or parade nights won every time).

Events for this mandatory fun included whale watching (the best part by far).  An 80s mixer (ummm… I like the 80s, but when you stick them in a mixer, not so much).  Outdoor games complete with a slip n slide.  A pub crawl.  Various talks.  Photo scavenger hunt (epic, but not as fun when you don’t know where you are or who you’re with).  Dinner with some Med2s followed by a dance.

I was not pumped.  Except for the whale watching.

I knew one person I went to high school with.  Not well.

70% of people knew most everyone.  They all did undergrads together, they did their masters together, heck, they did all of their schooling together and they live down the road.

Just shoot me.

So, enough whining… I’m supposed to be talking about getting through it.

First of all, I tried to embrace the fact there were other people as lost as me.  I found them.  Found the first one lost in a hall as ridiculously early as I was.  I stuck with them.  She fell asleep on the bus on the way back from whale watching.  I fought the urge to run away.  As it turns out, we sat togther through most of our classes.   The randoms I stumbled upon ended up becomign some of my best friends through med  school.  So, find someone looking as lost and sad as you and say hi.

Realize that med school is like high school.  There are cool kids and cliques.  It did not take me long to conclude I was not cool, nor would I be part of the key cliques.  They were already formed before I even came in.  That’s okay.  I’ve never been one of the cool ones.

Show up for events.  Seriously.  They said it was mandatory, but not everyone came and this ticked some people off.  When you are as shy as I am this is nausea inducing, but it was also how I actually was forced to meet people.  Nothing says get to know people than getting thrown in a 2 door car with 4 other people you have never met to tear around the city taking pictures (especially when we ended up breaking into a more senior med student’s (who I also didn’t know)  house…).

Have fun.  I mean, if you have to be there and people worked hard to plan it, there probably is some fun in there.  Some of our stuff was really awesome.  Other stuff was awesome for people who weren’t me.   Just try to have fun.  Fake it until you make it.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Find out what is okay to skip and know that it is okay to take a breather.  Yes everyone will question your decision.  At least the people who noticed you exist.  But mental health for the win!

Participate.  If everyone is doing something to make themselves look stupid, you might as well do it too.  It might end up being fun, or at least make for a funny story.  My team in these messed up olympics they held won.  We got gift cards for coffee or booze.  It was thrilling.

There is free stuff at some of the events.  Free reflex hammers (which is like gold when you are just getting started and anything “medical” is the best thing ever), free bags, pens and best of all, free food!  Moving and doing a million more years of school is expensive.  Love the free stuff!

There really is useful information in there.  You won’t remember it all.  But they do tell you some important stuff.

If your school is anything like mine, the dean of something or other will get up and tell you scary stats about failures, people crying and people quitting.  This really does happen, but it will be okay.  It is an important reality check, but it does really sting.  Especially when odds are you were already nervous.

Tell yourself it will be fun and okay and all that good stuff.  It will be.  At least some of the time.

Remind yourself that despite the social anxiety and such, this really is one of the most relaxed times in med school.  Embrace that.  The real work is coming.

Remind yourself it is just a week (or less, if you’re lucky).

If you’re from away, it gives a chance to at least kind of figure out how to get to and from school, where some key stuff is and get settled before the real work starts (although the hours were so crazy, it was still tough to get any real unpacking done).

Things like orientations are just a bit awkward.  They end and eventually you know people well enough, you kind of wish you could have done that with the same people a year later.  Not all of that stuff, but some of it.

As much as I think I could have done without so much mandatory “fun,” I really do think orientations are important.  I still say they are overwhelming.  But once it was over with, I had other stuff to worry about, so no need to dwell.

What was your orientation like?  Do you love or hate them?  Do you have any tricks to get through orientations and mandatory “fun.”

A Resident’s response to “Think Medical School Is For You? You’re Probably Wrong.”

Think Medical School Is For You? You’re Probably Wrong. (From the Globe and Mail by Katherine Sinclair)

I found this article on my Facebook news feed today and I read it.  At first I agreed with it.  Then it kind of bothered me.  I think I am in the middle when it comes to this piece.

You see, I do agree that lots of people go in to medicine because it is the next step.  It is what people expect.  That being said, I think the same thing can be said about people going into Master’s and PhD programs, people going to Law school, etcetera.  If you are bright and do well, people expect you to keep going.

That doesn’t mean you are doing something blindly.

I also agree that lots of people say their motivation for going into medicine is “to help people.”  The real reason why is a good think to think about.  That being said, sometimes this kind of decision isn’t always made of a cut and dry reason.  To help people…  That was partly mine.  And yes, many people secretly want the prestige or the money.  I can honestly say that wasn’t really mine. At least not the money part.  Prestige, sure, I guess.  I wanted to prove I could do it.  But, after I have done it I hate being called “doctor.”   I seriously wanted to help people and do more and differently than I could as a Nuc Med Tech.  Could I have been a nurse?  Sure.  But, I wanted to be on the technical side of things and the care side of things.  Medicine made the most sense for me.  

Does motivation have something to do with the happiness of people?  Sure.  Do people who went into medicine not knowing what they got into get screwed over?  All the time.  I think that is more of an issue of the screening process and education process. People should know what they are getting themselves in to.  Life experience counts for something just as much as grades do.

Most medical students get used to no longer being “the best” when they hit med school.  People start failing then.  It is a shock to the system, but again, I think not different from other professional degrees. And yes, that sucks because you are used to being the best wherever you were before.  That is life, though.  

Life experience is super important.  People skills are even more important.  People who are good with people, who are willing and able to help and not afraid to get a bit dirty and involved do well.  Grades don’t beat good bedside manner.  That is a fact.  It shouldn’t be shocking, but I get that it can be for some people.

That being said, most people don’t like not hearing “good job” and being at the bad end of interactions time and time again.  I agree that this is the case in many internships and isn’t that different in medicine.  Lots of jobs are thankless.  I agree that this is part of life in that kind of position, but that doesn’t make it right in any field.  

I also have to argue that the culture in medicine is such that people are often (historically) made to feel stupid in order to “learn.”  That the apprenticeship is more trial by fire.  I don’t know what other professions are like, but talking to friends in other fields, it is more ridiculous in medicine.  It is a real problem.  It is getting better, but it is still real.

I have to argue that although I was used to being “the best” and I don’t like failing, it doesn’t crush my soul.  I feel disappointed.  Some days I cry or feel bad.  I’m not just a spoiled child who is trying to avoid the real world by prolonging my education.  I am fully aware of real life.  I had jobs to pay for school, I paid bills and lived on my own.  

Its true that you can’t fail.  Once you’re in, they might make you repeat things, but most people get through and come out the other side as a doctor.  And then, they do a residency.  They might have to repeat a few rotations and exams, but most people come out a practicing doctor.  I think that is a huge issue.  Huge.  Some people are crappy doctors and shouldn’t be doctors.  Fact.

I can only imagine if you are someone who went into all this not knowing and not really wanting to do it, they would be more depressed and unhappy than someone who is happy in their job.  It just makes sense.  But, that happens in any career.

The suicide rate is ridiculously high in young physicians.  The burnout rate is too.  There is a problem.  I think it is both in the system and in the students.  That there isn’t a good, safe out when you get in med school.  That it is bizarre to change careers.  That we have to be perfect and are kind of used to that.  

I agree that medical school is not the right place for many people, including some of the people that get in.  I have worked with people I have thought must hate their jobs.  We really need to think about who is getting in (and who is not) as well as the system issues and hospital culture.  

Medical school should not be a defacto next step.  It drives me crazy when people assume they’ll do med school because they are smart with no foresight about what it really involves.  It also drives me crazy when people generalize me to that group of people.  

That being said, people getting in for the right or wrong reasons does not account for all of the issues that are being brought to the forefront with residents and young physicians. The medical culture is a fascinating entity.  The statistics should be an impetus for change.  And those of us in the system need to be part of that change.

As I said, I don’t fully agree with the article, but it makes some good points. Med schools are making some changes to admission criteria, but I think education before applications are in is key to making sure the right people apply and get in.  People need to really think before they make what turns into a life long commitment.  

 

How Did That Happen?: Human

This week’s How Did That Happen? should have been posted, well, last week.stethoscopes1

I have had some busy days including journal club prepping, trying to spend time with friends, go to Patrick’s work party, volunteering, keeping a clean house and getting a cold (I blame Patrick’s grubby kids). I actually had a long weekend thanks to an in-lieu day left over from Easter weekend call, so I have had the chance to do some movie watching and all around procrastination.

For any number of reasons both work and personally related, I have been feeling drained and down and all around kind of blah. It happens. I have a high baseline, so it weirds me out, but I must confess that it has been a recurring theme.

My How Did That Happen? is that I am human despite what medical institution says. I have known it all along, but just for the rest of the world, I will point it out.

People in medicine still get tired and sick and depressed.

We still have relationships.

We struggle with things like loss, fear and anxiety.

We have big joys and big sorrows.

We have regrets and make mistakes.

People in medicine still often have financial struggles. Just because we are there doesn’t mean we still aren’t paying off loans.

People in medicine are still learning. No matter where they are in their career. If they aren’t, there is a bigger issue.

People in medicine sometimes struggle with things we have to do in our jobs. Sometimes decisions we make haunt us.

We sometimes face our biggest fears in the eyes of others.

We don’t always have time to face those fears in ourselves.

Knowing that I am human is one of the best things I can know. Because it stops me from trying to be invincible all the time. Even when the world I am in sometimes acts as if that is not the case.

There is no fix for being human.

And for that I am glad (although, a cure for the common cold would be nice).

But, being human in medicine is a tightrope to walk with some of the pressures we all face.

Brian Goldman, an ER physician in Toronto and very talented speaker had this piece featured in the Globe and Mail today about physician burnout. I thought he voiced some of the common concerns about physician burnout today very well.

More accurately, the medical culture that fosters us is the problem. It’s a culture that implies you should strive to be perfect even though you’re human – one that encourages you to run from your feelings even though you can’t hide from them.

I don’t know how to fix burnout or how to fix our system. But, I think at least pointing out that I am human and treating the other humans I work with as human is a start.

During our first-year medicine exams, a classmate sent out this song to remind us that we are, in fact, not robots.

I still sing it to myself on days where I start being a bit too robot-like. It helps.

How Did That Happen?: How to survive rotations you hate

This week’s installment of How Did That Happen? is all about surviving rotations you hate.stethoscopes1

I know, there are people out there in the world who love all of medicine and enjoyed every single rotation they did. I am not one of those people. I tolerated every rotation. I did well on them. But, I did not see myself living in that department much longer than already required.

  • First of all, refer to the post on trying to be a good resident.  Trying to be a good resident or med student is always a good launching point for surviving any rotation.
  • Feign interest. I’m not talking being over the top. Just show up and act semi-interested and participate while not complaining.
  • Don’t lie or suck-up. Nothing is more annoying than that kid who always has their nose in the staff’s butt, no matter what rotation you are on. They always want to do this forever and love everything. If you like something, then say so. If you don’t, stop faking it. People can see through it or pick up on it over time. It makes you look bad. And annoying to the people you work with .
  • Be positive. Some days this is harder than others. But, don’t sulk around and be miserable. Find the bright sides in the rotation… Where this will help you in the future, how you are helping others… Those sorts of things. And cling to them. Especially when people ask what you think and your first thought is to say it sucks.
  • Look on the bright side. This is kind of like being positive, but moreso in your own head.   Think of how things could be worse or how much you have already completed or other milestones that get you through (like vacations, weekends, post-call days, academic half days).
  • Do your job. If you are on a rotation and you have a job to do, do it. Simple.
  • Figure out what you like and stick with it.If you can’t leave the rotation, join them. What aspects make you want to gouge your eyes out less? When I was on Radiology, I rewarded myself with Nuc Med stuff once a week. On Gen Surg, I would volunteer to do clinics because it was better than going to the OR.
  • Go the extra mile in ways you can handle.If you are a procedures person, offer to do the procedures you come across (even if they are few and far between). You are more theoretical? Volunteer to do the journal club or presentations. Even if you are bored or unhappy, taking steps to do things that show your interest in some area is better than nothing.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. Sometimes, the stuff I think I will hate the most is the stuff that turns out to be okay. I generally say I don’t love procedures. I do, however love debriding wounds and pulling drains. I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t try.
  • Set goals.My program often doles out giant lists of objectives for every rotation. It is good to know what you need to do or even what you want to do, so that you can focus on getting it done (and getting the bad pieces over with). Plus, it can direct studying and such, so you hopefully don’t have to do it again.
  • Have a good support network. Have good people around so that when you have a rough day or are working with ridiculous people, you can vent and bounce ideas off of them. There are some rotations where my rant days outweighed the good days, but that is life.
  • Do other stuff. Some rotations eat your life. Sure, you might work a million hours and study most of the rest, but take time to go to the gym or eat out with friends. It keeps a person sane, especially during the rough stuff.
  • Remember other people survived this too. There has to be some way out if everyone does it.

What are your surviving bad rotation tips?

How Did That Happen?: How Did I Pass That Exam?

I have that sleepy and yet high energy feeling that comes from a post-exam hangover. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am done junior physics (minus the exam review) so long as I pass that exam.stethoscopes1

That brings me to this week’s “How Did That Happen?” post – how did I pass that exam?

Pick the answer you actually want to pick. My thing today (although passed exam is still kind of up in the air) was in one of the multiple choice questions I had to select an energy for an electron beam to cover a tumor but not kill the spinal cord. I misread the question initially and puzzled over it thinking photon beams (for everyone except the, like two people who understand this, photon and electron beams behave pretty differently). Then, when I was checking the exam over, I noticed my error and did the very simple math to pick an appropriate beam. I was debating two answers, then circled one as the person came to pick up the exams. I walked out and realized I had circled the wrong one. The definitely wrong one. Minus one point. The big question is did I pass that exam?

Don’t change answers. Someone told me this in undergrad and I struggled to believe it. Odds are, your first instinct was right and whatever you change it to is wrong, unless you are certain of your error. I had to do a mini analysis (because heaven forbid I believe things at face value, I say that makes me a true scientist), but it is true.

Get the right exam questions. When I wrote the MCAT, it was the first year it was offered on computers (that dates me) and there was some weird computer error where one of my verbal reasoning passages did not correspond to the questions at all. I just guessed all of my answers.

Efficiency or gas masks. I have a terrible taste (and smell) aversion to bananas. All through med school, the guy who was after me in alphabetical order liked to eat a banana part way through every exam. He ripped it out when he was about to check over his answers.   After having to sit through his banana stench once or twice, I developed a system. I would do the exam as fast as possible and bail before he ate the banana. It worked for almost every exam.

More efficiency.  There are time limits.  If you are like me and always finish exams early, stick with that because the one time you start to run behind, that will be the time that they will make you stop writing at the right time and act all unforgiving about it.  At least that is how my neuroanatomy exam went down.  Also, when you aren’t used to being there at the end, you do what I did today and pick the wrong answer because you get weirded out by the exam being over when you are just finishing checking it.

Choose your seats wisely. Because I am a creature of habit, I always sat by banana guy, even when I had options. I had a friend with OCD who had to sit in a seat based on some internal numbering system. I had another friend who couldn’t have anyone within eyeshot.  During part one of the LMCC, I sat between two friends, one of which had a bunch of candy we binge ate before the exam started.  Delightful.

Go in the room. During the LMCC, one of the doors to one of the rooms was sticky. I went to knock and go in the room and it wouldn’t open. I body slammed it and it still wouldn’t open. I started to panic. Then, I charged at the door and went bursting out the other side to almost land on the “patient.” Whoops.

Show up, preferably on time. I always want to punch the late person who makes things start late in the face. Or the person who fails to show up and makes things late. Don’t have me want to punch you.

Talk fast.  Many medicine exams are verbal and you need to cover a ton of information in not a lot of time.  In preparation for OSCEs, I had a few friends who I studied with by practicing old stations and suggested stations from textbooks. We timed ourselves and did every station at least twice as patient, examiner and student. As a result, we had memorized most possible stations and responses. I went into one room and hammered through a long exam, differential and a question in what was probably record time to have the examiner laugh at me because he hadn’t heard someone speak so quickly before. Its a gift.

Don’t whip the patient. Same OSCE. Just got done a psychiatry station which meant my stethoscope was in my pocket and not around my neck where the person could hypothetically strangle me (seriously, pro tip: you got points or lost points for this, can’t remember which). Next station was a cardiac exam. Whent to haul out stethoscope and it got caught in my pocket. Somehow then came sailing out to smuck the med 1 (because they make the best cheapest exam patients).

Tell them what they want to hear. Oral exams are probably one of the more daunting exams in med school. There is something bizarre about explaining your way through hypothetical cases. Someone once told me to include all details you think are relevant and do it in a systematic way as if there was a patient in your face. This becomes more challenging when you have the peds sick and can barely speak and then the fire alarm goes off.

Do what they say. If someone says wear a lab coat or bring a calculator, do it. I have heard of people who failed or lost significant marks for professionalism for not wearing a lab coat, not bringing a stethoscope or not having the stuff they need to actually do the exam.

Turn off your phone/pager. Seems simple. There is almost always one. Nothing sucks more than being that kid with the pager going off while everyone is writing the exam. And not thinking it is yours until someone pinpoints your bag. Then, having to creep forward to turn it off from the very back of the room while people stab you with their eyes.

Study the right material. Seems simple most of the time. I had an anatomy exam in the middle of our course in med 1 where the instructors failed to communicate and included a section we had barely covered and omitted another piece of anatomy we thought was on the exam. That makes for some mighty angry med students.

Put your name and student number on the exam. Why is this still an issue at this level of education? Looking back, I didn’t put my name on last year’s physics exam… Good thing there was only two of us.

If at all possible, read your examiner’s mind. The good old “guess what I’m thinking.” Agh. Sometimes, you can perceive the nods or redirects in an oral exam, but written or a stone faced examiner are more challenging. Psychic abilities are always helpful when trying to figure out what someone is actually wanting to know in that question or why the person administering your oral exam keeps cringing (is it just indigestion or is it my stupidity?).

What are some of your exam conundrums and how did you pass?

How Did That Happen? New Series

Recently, my blog keeps getting visits via search engines to get to this post… “Things I Wish I Had Known Starting Residency.” It is exciting to see people landing here not reading about whether Grey’s Anatomy is a real portrayal of life on a General Surgery rotation (Spoiler alert… It is not.).

It makes me realize July is coming and soon enough I will be on-service learning what I actually want to do for the rest of my life (and done two years of residency).  MIND BLOWN!

I don’t claim to be a leading expert in things. Well, I am an expert in what I wish I had known and I am at least kind of aware of what happened to me (some days more than others), but it is tough to predict what others want to know. But, I am happy to help (or send people running).

It has motivated me to do a series, which is pretty exciting to me because I have never really been motivated to do anything beyond a post mentioning that I will continue to talk about the same subject another day or blog hops.

I call the series “How Did That Happen?”  Oh, and I am super proud of the graphic I created for it (I only wasted an hour figuring it out.)

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The series in question is a sort of how-to guide/list for some common questions or issues that I or others have had about med school and residency and a mix between legitimate advice, the obvious and the sarcastic.

Obviously, they will have a certain angle about them. I mean, I can only write from my experience and the experience of some lovely friends from whom I mooch acquire knowledge. I am Canadian, so clearly that may influence some things. I am a girl and in the world of medicine, sometimes that still matters. Oh, and I am in Rad Onc (just one of the smallest programs ever).

Again, I am not an expert. This is not life advice or medical advice. Really, it is a different approach to writing about some of the randomness of med school/resident life in list form and sometimes make it legitimately useful.

This is an experiment. So, once a week, you’ll find one, maybe two. Until I stop for one reason or another..

If there is something you want a how-to about from anything from how to be a good resident to how to not get gastro on your first call shift, let me know. Suggestions are welcome.

Lost

I lost my med student today.

I don’t lose things.

Apprently, I can lose people.

Somewhere between the consults at the three hospitals in the city, he went missing.  I paged and there was no answer.

In the process of trying to find said med student, I could have seen the consult myself.

When we finally did reunite, it turns out he wandered between the two other hospitals looking for the outpatient chart I had on my person to try to make things more efficient.

I have no idea how I didn’t somehow run into him on my way back and forth.  But somehow we just missed each other.

And, it isn’t intuitive that one of the hospitals (the one I was paging from) isn’t “in house” and thus will ring busy if you don’t dial 9 first from the other hospitals to return the page.

At least I ate and figured out the consult while trying to find the med student.  He didn’t eat.  And the afternoon was insane, so by the time we headed out, he was about to eat one of his own limbs (in my defense, I insisted he get food while I finished that consult and before the scope we were going to, but he was worried about getting lost/missing something).

Needless to say, I had an apologetic shadow for the rest of the day.  And understandably so… I would have done the same thing if I were him.

I just plain felt bad (although I also saw humor in the situation).

I don’t think I was ever lost for that long, although I was lost before.  I do remember working with another med student when I was a med 4 who was always going missing.  And not accidental missing, sketchy missing.  We started using their name as a verb meaning that people were missing intentionally… We called it pulling a “Ricky.”

I am glad that I am no longer someone that has to follow or find someone all the time.  Just most of it.   It is still a bit more freeing.

Medicine is terrifying in that you are always being evaluated and judged.  ALWAYS.  So, when stuff happens and you miss something or look like you aren’t there, it is really frightening.

The thing is… It happens to everyone to some degree. 

Also, it is nice to not eat his face with rage because of a simple confusion and normal lost-ness.  A courtesy I wish was bestowed on me from time to time.  Do unto others, as they say.

Plus, it is funny that I can say I kind of lost a person.

The last lesson in this is that a single city SHOULD have one hospital building with one in-house calling system.  Just saying.

The CaRMS Season Begins Again

It is that time of year again.

It is CaRMS season, which means the time when all kinds of half terrified fourth year medical students circumnavigate this fine country of ours in the search of a residency position.  And that means interviews, dinners, travel and tons of indecision/contemplation.  At least that is what it meant for me.

Today was my program’s interview day and tonight is our meet and greet dinner for the candidates.  I am a bit excited to meet the people this year and eventually find out who will be our new office buddy starting in July.

Funny thing is, I am a bit nervous to meet them.  I want them to like us.  But really, it only matters that the one person we acquire likes us in the end.  And, as I said on the CaRMS tour, like attracts like and the applicants will tend towards the same level of super cool radiation oncology people as the people already in my program do.

It seems crazy that I blogged my across Canada Rad Onc tour of CaRMS awesomeness two whole years ago, now.

I am sure somebody will stumble upon this page looking for interview survival tips or something.    I suppose I will share a few.

  1. Go to your interview and dinner.  I am not on the selections committee, but I find it kind of offputting if you don’t even make an effort to at least show your face to the interview.  I get that sometimes circumstances make people unable to travel and need phone interviews, but showing up shows interest.  How can you decide to move somewhere if you have never been there?  Just saying.
  2. Capitalize on the free food, offers for free drives and all that good stuff.  All the travel if you are doing a bunch of interviews gets expensive.
  3. Try to actually see some of the cities you visit, even if just for an hour or two.  It makes the trip more fun and it helps to make you really get a picture of what living there could be like.
  4. Keep a list of the good and bad points of the program and city after the interview.  They all can start to jumble together.  Plus, it is easier to have a discussion or pro-con list making event with your significant other, friend, cat or self if you actually have your initial impressions to look back on.
  5. Get to know the other people on the tour with you.  Odds are most of them are just as “cool” as you and just as scared as you too.  They will be your colleagues one day.  Plus, it is nice to have partners in crime on the adventure that is traveling from place to place.  You can carpool, explore and get lost as a team.

 

I am glad that I am done with this stuff.  Okay, so realistically I still have fellowship applications and/or job applications to go, but the actual insanity that is CaRMS is over. 

Good luck to everyone CaRMS-ing out there.  And feel free to ask me questions if you have any you think I might be able to answer.

LMCC est fini part two

A year and a half ago I wrote the first part to this post.  Well, kind of.  Check it out here.

A year and a half ago, I finished the first part of the LMCC.  It was a traumatic exam at the end of my fourth year of medical school.  I was warned that it would feel like I failed, but that in reality almost all Canadian grads pass it.

Today, I finished the second part of the LMCC.  This was the practical part.  The part where we wander from room to room pretending to be doctors while people pretend to be patients and then we answer questions about how we would doctor them in real life.    I was warned that it would also feel like death.  But again, that most Canadian, English as a first language grads do okay with it.

That being said, I seem to know a disproportionate number of people who failed.

That gave me some significant test taking anxiety.

I mean, I can count on one hand the things that count that I failed.  And by that, I really can only think of one thing.  And really, I was expected to fail that.

But still, between my intense imposter syndrome, my usual performance anxiety and the terror that comes from exams that cost almost my entire month’s pay and basically are necessary to my future employment, I was fearful.

Fearful is actually probably not the best word.  I was scared poopless.  In fact, I had the worst exam anxiety that I have had in a long time.

But now it is done.

If you landed here looking for exam advice.  I have none except do some studying and be a good doctor and expect to forget something at most stations.

I can’t really say anything else in detail because the LMCC exam people are very serious about the whole not talking about the exam thing and talking about the experience in any further detail beyond me saying that it was a practical exam could get me in to big trouble.  Like losing my current credentials, legal action and all around badness kind of trouble.  I like my license.  And I really don’t want to have to do exams over again.  And I really, really don’t like any kind of trouble.

It doesn’t matter because I am done.  Hopefully, forever.  And if not, at least until Spring.

Now, just to wait the month or two before the results miraculously appear in my inbox.

To make me feel better we booked our free flights and started planning a trip to New York in the Spring.  I am so excited for that.

I am also pumped to get back to the rest of my life!