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.
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.
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.
Ever since I first posted tips for applying to medicine (in South Africa) in 2014, I have received multiple questions from aspirant medical students.
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?”→
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.
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”→
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.
This 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.
It’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”→
I read a lot of medical fiction. I even have some lists about them (fiction and non-fiction, actually). I think I just read one of my favourites: Suicide Med by Freida McFadden, aka Fizzy McFizz. She also wrote The Devil Wears Scrubs, which I reviewed here.
In all honesty, I don’t think the blurb does it justice:
There’s a reason Southside Medical School has been nicknamed “Suicide Med.” For the last six years, every year one student has taken his own life. Except for last year. Last year was a murder-suicide.
The press has pointed to the heavy workload as the culprit in the high suicide rate. Some students believe that the school is cursed. And others believe that the deaths may not be suicides at all—that it’s no coincidence that Dr. Conlon, Southside’s quirky but beloved anatomy professor, joined the staff on the very year that the suicides began.