The Last Weekend Of Mental Health Awareness Month: Watch This

Or: Guess who’s back.

A little over two years ago, I heard of an old classmate working on a documentary project about bullying and discrimination in medicine. Longtime readers of this blog will know that I have written about bullying and discrimination before.

The director and brains behind the project, Adil Khan, interviewed a few doctors who came forward to talk about their experiences. Sharing mine was cathartic. Two years later, on 30 September this year, Behind the Frontline premiered to great success. Adhil was interviewed by newspapers and television shows, and I do believe that this documentary got people talking.

Have a look. Consider your own mental health. Perhaps it is time to admit that you need help, or at least, that you need to take steps to protect your wellness. Know that there is always help available.

Questions on Blogging for Readers Past/Present/Future

I started this blog exactly eight years ago, today.

Who I was then, and who I am now, has changed drastically, and often. I wrote as I stumbled my way through new clinical and life experiences. I wrote as my mental health peaked and plummeted. I wrote as my love for medicine died, and was reborn. The first community I found was that of book bloggers, but gradually, I found the medical bloggers, too.

Continue reading “Questions on Blogging for Readers Past/Present/Future”

Anatomy: my big mistake

I had a little giggle to myself while charting the notes of a patient with shoulder pain the other day. Specifically, I was thinking of this post of yore, and my belief that I could get by just knowing what anatomy looked like, and not necessarily its various descriptions and qualifiers.

Boy, was I wrong. (And young. And obstinate.)

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Image via dentalbuzz.shop

Continue reading “Anatomy: my big mistake”

Mental Health Begins With Medical Students

Every few months, the mental health of doctors/medical students makes it to popular media. It seems like these spikes in attention occur, and everyone shouts YOU SHOULD CARE FOR YOUR DOCTORS! and then we write blogs and we tweet and we make youtube videos and eventually we go back to work, and nothing has changed.

I think we are the missing link. And by “we”, I mean qualified doctors. And also, you, the older doctors. Continue reading “Mental Health Begins With Medical Students”

FAQ: Will I Get Into Med School?

Ever since I first posted tips for applying to medicine (in South Africa) in 2014, I have received multiple questions from aspirant medical students.

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The hardest to answer (and thus one of the most popular) is DO I STILL STAND A CHANCE? – usually prefaced with the person’s failure to achieve the desired grades for medical admission, or some other stumbling block. Continue reading “FAQ: Will I Get Into Med School?”

[Guest Post] From Nursing to Medicine

While the best-known route to medical school in South Africa is the “conventional”: finish high school and enter med school the next January, it is by far not the only route followed by medical students here.

The journeys are numerous, like Tash’s journey of an older medical student, which she graciously shared here.

nurse to med school

Today, Roxanne shares her journey from nursing to medical school. Roxanne is a fourth year medical student at the University of Stellenbosch. We lived across from each other when she was a first year and I in my fifth. She impressed me from the beginning, with her humility, passion and eagerness to learn. This is her story: Continue reading “[Guest Post] From Nursing to Medicine”

Interview: Med School as a Mature Student

Of all the search queries that lead to this blog, one of the most popular is about studying medicine as an “older” student. Perhaps in the USA the question is not as prevalent, but Med School is an undergraduate program in South Africa, and the vast majority of students enter straight after high school.

I too followed the traditional route, so although I have had older classmates, I’ve always felt like my advice on the topic was pretty generic. You know, “of course you’re not too old for med school”, etc. But a great young woman agreed to chat to me about her non-traditional journey.

tash interviewThis was my first time interviewing someone using voice-notes. I really hate the sound of my voice on recording, but my interviewee was an absolute star. Allow me to introduce Tash, a final year medical student at the University of Stellenbosch, whom I have now known for seven years and who never fails to make an impression.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

Absolutely. I remember very clearly when I was about five years old I had a “teddy triage” and I used to inject my teddies, and I raided the first-aid kit to bandage them. So it has pretty much been a lifelong dream. Continue reading “Interview: Med School as a Mature Student”

Cadaverish Tales

tumblr_n94hlvcFOs1tpw2ero1_1280It’s been a long time since med school dissection, and I must say I never really enjoyed it. I appreciated it, sure; but just like I rarely enjoy surgery, I rarely enjoyed dissection. It’s something that just WAS.

I had a lot of thoughts about our cadavers though. I wished we had a dedication ceremony, as many med schools abroad have. Our professor’s reasoning was “there are too many religions to accommodate”, but I thought that was a silly excuse because whoever said that a dedication ceremony had to be religious at all?

When we teamed up for dissection groups, we were told to ensure there was a male in each group to help with some of the “tougher” work. Of course, some of us disagreed with such old-fashioned suggestions and teamed up in all-girl group anyways. Continue reading “Cadaverish Tales”