Every medical student dreams of having that “Aha!” moment where you instinctively realize your future specialty. Unfortunately, it never seems to be as simple. That moment is often insidious and occasionally tainted with self-doubt.
As an “underrepresented minority” in medicine, my personal experiences of mistreatment while navigating the challenges of pursuing this career are mostly invisible to the rest of society, but I know that they are far from mythical or unique. In fact, my experiences harmonize perfectly with the tales of so many African-American physicians before me and even in the accounts of the students I currently mentor. Everyone asks, “Aren’t things different now for African-Americans?” Yes. But, are they better? Sadly, not exactly.
I am honored by this opportunity to offer you some advice on how to prepare for your professional career in what has become a treacherous health care system. I will not elaborate on why I think the health care system is “treacherous.” I will assume — and even hope — that you have at least some inkling that things are not rosy in the world of medicine.
Stephanie Marango, MD, RYT is a physician-educator, yoga teacher trainer and author of The Wisdom of Your Body. In this interview, she tells us what led her down the path into integrative medicine.
In case you were wondering: robots won’t replace anesthesiologists any time soon, regardless of what The Washington Post may have to say. There’s definitely a place for feedback and closed-loop technology applications in sedation and in general anesthesia, but for the foreseeable future we will still need humans. I’ve been practicing anesthesiology for 30 years now, in the operating rooms of major hospitals. Since 1999 I’ve worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a large tertiary care private hospital in Los Angeles. So what do I want to tell you, the next generation of physicians, about my field?
At 8 a.m. every morning of the work week, I show up to class and make every bit of a dramatic entrance — slapping high fives to people in the front row, cracking a joke at He-Man’s (the class ‘buff guy’) expense, taking a moment to survey the classroom for an empty seat (next to people I haven’t sat with yet), throwing long distance secret handshakes to anyone from my lab table that’s paying attention … and smiling as big as I can stand it. And though this behavior is admittedly odd and seemingly manic, it is actually a completely honest expression of everything that my smile represents. Some of my classmates have noticed and asked me about it. At 2 p.m. on October 10, one of Dr. Rudy’s former patients reminds me of the substantial and universally relevant answer to why I am the way I am.
Heidi Moawad, MD is a neurologist, professor and author of “Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine.” In this interview, she tells us about what led her down this path and about her research.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the clinical portion of medical school. Now you’ll work alongside interns, residents, attendings, pharmacists, social workers, and a myriad of other health care workers to provide quality care for your patients. As a resident, I’ve seen medical and PA students struggle with feelings of anxiety, incompetence and disorganization. They are excellent with patients, but often have difficulty with team dynamics and understanding their roles as clinical students. Here are some tips for success modeled after Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
When I began to think about becoming a doctor — sixty years ago while in high school — I thought of medicine in terms of being a healer. I imagine each of you have had similar thoughts before and now during medical school. But what does it mean to be a healer and how does one go about becoming one?
Becoming a doctor is a long road. One’s frame of mind during the process is important, because the wrong perspective can make the delayed gratification truly overwhelming. While your friends and family members may have sprinted through school, saying “I’ll be done in a year,” you are thinking “It’s going to be a lifetime before I’m truly done.”
The hierarchy of medicine is most obvious to the medical students, who see each required step towards the next rung on the ladder very clearly. It takes times, though, to learn the cultural rules and nuances to do things the “right” way. During the learning process, many students spend time observing and avoiding making waves. But regarding safety, it’s important to speak up no matter what. Two stories during my training have solidified this for me.
If I had to do it all over again, the biggest thing that I would work on would be my study habits. I took three years off after completing undergrad at the University of Florida before matriculating at New York Medical College in 2005. After three years, I had forgotten how to study.