Consults

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.

Therese Castrogiovanni Therese Castrogiovanni (1 Posts)

Guest Writer

University of Kansas School of Pharmacy


P3 student at the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy.




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.

Are Financial Incentives the Answer to Our National Organ Shortage?

For patients struggling to stay alive, organ donation serves as a new lease on life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 123,358 people waiting for life-saving organ transplantation, yet there are only 13,125 organ donors. While subtle, nominal changes such as changing the U.S. organ donor program from an opt-in to an opt-out program have been proven to increase rates of organ donation, the rising levels of organ demand and stagnating levels of donors indicate that the only way to completely bridge the gap is through tangible and pervasive policy change.

Reconciling Religious Law of Orthodox Judaism with Medical Practice

Sometimes it is difficult to reconcile value systems that pull a person in opposite directions. Specifically in medicine, where the laws and nature of the work are so sensitive, yet also so important, it is within normal daily function to default to the ethics and American system of law. However, for Orthodox Jews, it is not that simple. Certain laws, such as the laws pertaining to the Sabbath, can make practicing medicine quite tricky.

Aaron Schweitzer Aaron Schweitzer (1 Posts)

Pre-Medical Guest Writer

University of Pennsylvania


Aaron Schweitzer is a pre-med guest writer originally from Los Angeles. Currently studying Biological Basis of Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania, he participates in research that focuses on the neural pathways of chemotherapeutically induced nausea. Hoping to pursue a career in medicine, he is particularly interested in the dynamics that exist between between medical ethics and medical practice.