Beau Vidrine, who recently matched into family medicine at Louisiana State University Health Lake Charles, joins us today to share the recipe for the perfect omelette, succeeding on the wards and more.
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a fourth-year medical student at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport and I recently matched into my dream specialty at my number-one residency program. I love books, Game of Thrones, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.
Looking back on your medical school experience, what would you say to the young and naïve “first-year you”?
I would encourage spending more time cultivating relationships with my peers. These are wonderful, brilliant, interesting people and we are only together for four short years. Med school is stressful and everyone is always busy, but life is stressful and always busy, too. Be sure to take time away from the books and PowerPoints for coffee or meals with friends.
What tips do you have for USMLE?
Start early with question banks and don’t rely too much on First Aid. Pathoma is easily the best money I’ve spent in med school. The NBME website offers practice tests, and I would definitely go over a few of those. The key for me was to have fewer resources that I could review multiple times with spaced repetition. There are literally dozens of review books. But, there is no time to go over them all, and it’s easy to get bogged down.
What advice do you have for the students going through clinical rotations?
Show up early. Be where you’re supposed to be, and do what you’re supposed to be doing while you’re there. Most of us go to medical school to learn how to take care of patients, and third year is where you start learning how to do this. Go the extra mile for your patients and always listen to them. Making them feel sincerely valued and letting them see you care about them and their health is far more important than cranking out a few more UWorld questions.
What recommendations do you have for medical students to maintain their sanity?
Take 30 minutes of every day for yourself, and have a “treat yo’self” day once a month. For me it was reading for fun in the evenings before bed. Establishing a set routine was also helpful. The unknown is always scary, and anything you can do to decrease this fear of the unknown is great.
How did medical school differ from your expectations?
Medical school is very humbling. We’ve already spent four years in undergrad — many of us have Master’s degrees too — and in the first two years of med school you spend countless more hours studying. During third and fourth year, you are expected to study the same amount and work a full time job in the hospital. I got to the wards and sometimes I felt like I forgot where the heart was. Other times, I surprised myself with some random detail that I remembered. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with the reality that there’s too much out there to be able to know everything. I know to either hit the books and figure it out or pick up the phone and ask for help.
What things did you do during your four years of medical school that you believe particularly impressed your residency program?
I subscribe to an Abundance mentality — as opposed to a Scarcity mentality — and I sincerely believe that we are all in it together. Helping each other succeed and learn is so important. I always did my best to support my peers and stay positive. I’m a notetaker — a friend of mine jokes that I single-handedly transcribed med school. I helped teach first- and second-year med students history taking and physical exam skills for our Standardized Patient Exams. I was chosen for the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which meant a lot to me because it was peer-nominated. I was also the Education Editor for the American Medical Student Research Journal.
What attracted you to your chosen specialty?
I plan on being a physician in rural Louisiana and taking care of everyone in the town. I love working with all age groups and I enjoy procedures, but I don’t love the OR. I wanted a wide variety of patients and I enjoyed every rotation I had in medical school. I literally want to do a little bit of everything. Family medicine made the most sense for me because it best fit my personality, interests and career goals.
What is your biggest fear about beginning residency?
I know the hours will be long. The training will be arduous. There’s a lot to learn in a short period of time. I hope that I am able to hold on to my idealism, passion and enthusiasm for medicine. I’m also afraid of doing harm to a patient through my lack of knowledge.
What advice would you give third-year students about to start the Match process?
Take a breath. Make lists. If you’re a procrastinator like me, start early and give yourself plenty of time to meet deadlines. Do your homework about the process and about the programs that interest you. Invest in two suits! Send handwritten thank you notes to every interviewer at every program that you interview. Use the resources offered at your school. I literally went to our Dean of Student Affairs and said, “I’m the first person in my family to go to medical school. I have no idea what I’m doing. Tell me what to do,” and he guided me through everything. Realize that it’s a scary process, but it’s scary for everyone. The best predictor of future performance is past performance, and you’ve made it this far, so just keep on keeping on.
And a fun bonus question! Please share an easy and quick recipe that got you through tough weeks in medical school:
The Perfect Omelette:
Dice mushrooms, spinach, tomato, and garlic. Take two eggs (not three) and crack them into a bowl. Whisk until frothy. Add equal parts butter and olive oil to a skillet and place it on medium high heat, swirl the butter and olive oil around to coat the skillet well. Add the veggies to the pan and sauté them. Pour the eggs into the skillet and lift them with a rubber spatula. Once the eggs set, add a little grated cheddar cheese. Season with fresh ground salt and black pepper and flip the omelette on to a plate.