As I took my shirt off this morning to shower, I noticed my teres major muscle in the mirror — or more precisely, I identified it for the first time.
This summer, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the landmark case from 1973 that previously affirmed the right to an abortion, effectively ending access to safe, legal abortions in large swaths of the United States. Many across our country are still grappling with the ramifications of this decision…But how in particular will this affect medical education? And what can medical students do about it?
Like many medical students, I was vastly underprepared for the emotional turmoil that the nature of the third year of medical school can create.
Awareness of mental health and burnout concerns amongst physicians is simply insufficient; there is a dearth in actionable guidelines for training programs and medical schools to better medical student wellbeing.
Over the next few days, workup revealed she was experiencing paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, a manifestation of her occult cancer. In a matter of three days, a patient who had come in for seemingly benign constipation was told she had metastatic lung cancer.
The interviewer smiled, gave a vague answer and followed it with a diatribe about how present-day residents have it so “easy.” How his generation had to “walk through feet and feet of snow” to get to work and how work hour restrictions did not exist. Caught off guard, I wondered what sparked such an emotional response to a common interview question.
It was my third day on my home dermatology elective, and I boldly volunteered to see a patient by myself. As a third-year medical student strongly considering dermatology for my future career, I had studied for weeks for this rotation, hoping to make an impression as a confident, knowledgeable and reliable doctor-in-training. Usually, medical students shadow for two weeks before seeing patients on their own, but I was eager to be more independent. This was my chance to demonstrate everything I was working toward.
Deadlines rush on, relentlessly. / Another email signed, / “Best regards.”
My attention swung back and forth between my mom, my screen and the pairs of eyes periodically peering into the hospital room. I focused on the next question on my screen. Another patient had expired as if they were a carton of milk left too long in the fridge.
Third-year rotations forced me to reckon with my emotional capacity as a human and future physician. With each patient encounter, I had to decide whether my skin was too thick or too thin.
Studying blood clots / While I sit for hours on end / Affixing my own.
Longitudinal community service presents health trainees with clear benefits including development of communication and interpersonal skills, understanding how to teach and insight into community level issues and personal well being.