Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tales from school

A few notes on medical school (to make up for the fact that I am *still* knitting sleeves for Sonnet; why don’t I ever do the sleeves first?!):

Our first two years are spent in the classroom with a few outside medical preceptorships (such as my ER/OR, primary care/family practice, and other medical experiences). The first year classroom time was spent in subjects like gross anatomy (that could be a whole post in itself), physiology and biochemistry (and other things that help explain how the anatomy works at a cellular level), and things like population health (how to read medical papers with a critical eye) and medical jurisprudence (what happens when we will, inevitably, be sued). There were other things like basic pharmacology, clinical skills classes (that thought us how to use all the fun expensive equipment we all had to buy – stethescope, bp and ear/eye thingymajigors) and our osteopathic manipulative class. It was a long year and I was glad to get through it.

Second year is set up differently because it’s all system based; this means that we learn everything that can go wrong with a body system (such as respiratory, GI or reproductive) and then review radiology films and how to diagnose the conditions in a clinical setting. Usually we have one system exam, and once it’s over, we’re done. I’m still working on trying to believe I know everything that can go wrong with the heart (cardio) or the blood (hematology), and I’m going to need to remember every system in order to pass the boards.

The third and fourth years are the “clerkship” years, and will be spent rotating through hospitals and clinics. Our school doesn’t have a hospital associated with it, and so our third year will be spent spread out in programs across the northeast. We have some say in where we’ll be, but it is a lottery system and our lottery is this Friday. Leading up to the lottery we’ve had informal (anon) surveys and some site spots are more sought after then others; which means the people who want to be in those spots are all very stressed out about if they’re actually “get” a spot. (there are as many as 22 spots in some areas, and as few as 8 in others; seems that the ones that are causing the most stress are the sites with fewer spots.)

(it sounds confusing because it is!)

People have different reasons for wanting to go all over the place; some have families and significant others to consider, and some are looking to where they want to do their residency. Some want to return to an area that’s closer to home, and some want to be where there will be students from other schools (whereas others want to be the only students at a site).

I’m in a unique situation because of my state funding; if I want it, I can choose to stay here, instead of having to lottery to stay. I’m taking this option, but will need to lottery for the tracks (tracks are things such as OB, surgery, internal medicine etc; we have a certain number of core rotations in the basics (like those above) we have to do, and after we figure out where we’re going to be we’ll fight it out to figure out our schedules.)

This being said, people are tired (possibly because we’re all ready to be done with school) and stressed (due to things like the upcoming lottery) and in various stages of health (seems that the cold thing I had is going around and some are just now getting the sore throat I started with a week ago…).

Tensions are high, and I’ll be glad when this whole lottery event is over!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kristen,
Just wanted to finally comment after snooping around your blog for a while. I too am a second year medical student, and I too knit most of the time in class. My problem is that I study best when I make notecards or write things down, so I can't usually knit and study at the same time. Bummer, if only I could figure out how to knit and write at the same time...Anyway, I wanted to let you know that many of the things you talk about really resonate with me: the times of crushing doubt, the stress, the tiredness, the sickies, etc. etc. What school do you go to? I go to UMass Med in Worcester, a city of which I am not fond. my email: sorcinem@gmail.com

I'd love to hear where you go, I wonder about whenever I read your blog!


10:43 PM  
Blogger Anne-Caroline said...

Good Luck!!!

10:21 PM  

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