Through the course of medical education, students learn to call for “consults” from various medical specialties. Yet, consults can come in many forms — from social work, nutrition, law, ethics and policy. There is also much to be learned from premedical and post-bacc students, who may be walking into medicine with a fresh set of eyes. “Consults” invites experienced non-clinicians and undergraduates to contribute pieces relevant to the medical student community.

Talal Almas Talal Almas (1 Posts)

Pre-Medical Guest Writer

Rice University

A tennis aficionado, thinker, writer, theist, and raconteur! Interested in writing about current events, spirituality, and day-to-day matters. Aspiring medical student. Rice University class of 2019!

A Day In The Operating Room: A Forked Path

In medicine, there is a saying that the training is onerous but the rewards are many. More often than not, these rewards come coated in a myriad of shapes, including lucrative incentives, personal gratification, warm contentment and sated joy. For some physicians, a last wound-closure of the day, a smile on their patients’ faces, or warm, heartfelt regards from the people they care for carry immense significance. Yet, for many others, lucrative incentives seal their fate, becoming a bane to the integrity of the medical profession as a whole.

This photo was originally taken by and displayed on Otto Yamamoto's Flickr account. It has not been altered in any way

Why Black Lives Matter Ought to Matter to Medical Students: A Familiar Message Revisited

In December of 2014, one week after the non-indictment of Michael Brown, in-Training published an article entitled “A Lack of Care: Why Medical Students Should Focus on Ferguson.” In it, Jennifer Tsai argued that the systemic racism rampant in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems also permeates our health care system, affecting both access to care for black patients and the quality of care black patients receive. Lamenting that the medical community was largely absent from the Ferguson controversy, she cited startling statistics of disparities in health and health care as part of her call to action. In light of the events last week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas, it’s time to revisit this message.

White Coat Hypertension

A very simple but interesting phenomenon in health care is the concept of “white coat hypertension.” Initially, if you take a patient’s blood pressure, it may be abnormally high. This is simply because they’re nervous about the situation. If you just wait a few minutes and then take the patient’s blood pressure again, it has often decreased a fair amount. It’s a simple enough concept — the patient is worried that something is wrong and this makes their blood pressure increase. However, this leads me to the question: why do we make our patients so easily nervous? That is not our place in the health care equation.


Stress Reduction and Mindfulness in Medical School: Yes, It’s Worth It

There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness these days — its importance, its effectiveness, the benefits of meditation and even the structural changes in the brain that result from it. (Do you want a less reactive amygdala and increased neuronal density in the hippocampus? Meditate!) It’s one thing to read about the benefits of doing something, but as many know, it’s another thing to actually apply it and understand it. So how can medical students use stress reduction strategies “in the context of the high-stakes, high-stress and time-limited environment of medical school.”

Sometimes the Patient is the Teacher

I’m an ePatient blogger, academic, educator and breast cancer survivor. I write about my patient experience in hopes that medical professionals may achieve a better understanding of the patient’s perspective of the medical system. Like any profession, physicians are the experts of their field, but no doctor is the expert of all human pathophysiology. Because of this, the emerging interdisciplinary team of specialists has become a pragmatic step.


When to Say “No”: Yes, It Gets Messy

Four years. I had gone four years without crying in a faculty member’s or an advisor’s office. And there I was, sobbing all over myself, as I tried to explain the situation. A couple of days prior, I received a terse email from the training director, saying I needed to come in to meet with her. She was not happy with my most recent feat as a doctoral student.

Special Messengers: Physician-Advocates

Do you remember the last time your insurance denied payment for a visit or procedure you had? Or your gym double charged you for your membership fee? What did you do? Did you sit back and say – “Well, they must know better than me – I’ll just accept their decision.” Or did you call up and say, “Excuse me, but I believe there has been an error and I’d like you to fix it.” My guess is, you did the latter. What you did was advocate for yourself.


Teachable Moments: An Evening in the Emergency Room

I’m an academic and an educator. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I chose to be treated in a university setting. It felt right to me, that if I had to go through the experience of breast cancer, that my body would become a teaching tool. It helped provide some form of meaning to the experience. It is with this lens that I found myself regretting not calling out to the clearly first-rotation medical student while in the emergency room.

Roberto De Los Santos Roberto De Los Santos (1 Posts)

Guest Writer

California School of Podiatric Medicine

My background includes extensive laboratory skills, research, data collection, and publication of findings. I am currently a student attending podiatry medical school at the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM). Linguistic capabilities include fluency in English, Spanish, ans introductory French. Well-traveled with prior work and academic experience in Mexico and South America.