It’s almost time for the asynchronous community service applications in SA, and shortly thereafter the regular applications will begin. So I thought I’d take a break from dispensing medicine, and dispense a tip I could have used:
Apply somewhere that is going to challenge you.
Apply somewhere that you will be expected to work with a reasonable level of independence. Probably the best place to do community service, in my opinion, is somewhere that you can do emergency medicine, or at least your overtime in emergency medicine. Yes, even if you don’t want to do EM in the long run. Continue reading “My Advice for Your ComServe Application”→
Since I’ve kind of started paying more attention to the blog again, my friend Caroline asked me to share some tips on electives. (Hi, Caroline!) You may remember the elective series I ran a few years ago. I haven’t exactly stopped the series, I just am not really in the position to seek out medical students for interviews anymore. (Guest posts welcome, hint-hint, nudge-nudge.)
I’ll give as much advice as I could gather from myself and friends, over a few days. Today, I’ll start off with the process of choosing your elective.
Disclaimer: This will be written with South African medical students in mind. For international students, note that some things might not apply to your program.
The night before my first shift in general practice, I frantically messaged one of my doctor-heroes on Twitter (@sindivanzyl). I think I was hoping for a cheat sheet, something about hypertension and diabetes, but the one thing she emphasised was, “Please, please, always examine your patients.”
For medical students that would probably sound absurd. Duh, how can one not examine the patient?
Last night I worked my last shift for Community Service. 1 January 2018 will mark three years since I walked into my first day of work. And on that day, more than 1,000 new interns will enter our workforce.
I remember the nerves the night before: being unable to sleep. Feeling like a fraud, like I had been allowed to graduate by accident. Worried that I would be labelled Worst Intern Ever; worried that I’d have awful colleagues. But I survived the first week, and eventually the first year, too.
And so will our new interns. I have some tips for those who need ’em.
Ever since I wrote about how going for therapy was my biggest gift to myself*, I’ve met with a few medical students to talk about the topic of mental health. Many of them were worried about their ability to make it through med school with their illness. Many were worried about the viability of a career in medicine with depression.
When I was a student, there was a rumour that students with mental illness would be excluded from the course. We were informed by our senior students, and they by theirs, and thus the rumour was propagated. Continue reading “Can I Be A Depressed Doctor?”→
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?”→
I heard this song for the first time as I was driving to my New Year’s Day call on Friday. Apparently I’m the only person in the whole world who hasn’t heard it, but WHATEVER okay.
I wept a little.
THIS is what I want to say to people. To the new interns who are hopefully going to realise this year that medicine was the right career for them; but who will certainly meet many challenges this year.
Medicine is hard and you’ll be expected to be super-human, never to have broken wings, never to feel like you can’t go on.
Remember that for every person who expects you to motor on without a wink of sleep, without any debriefing after a difficult resuscitation, there is another who will lend you their wings when it’s hard.
Look for them. Look for us.
Find the people who will support you when your day or week or month is shitty.
And when your wings are working… please help someone who needs them.
As I write this, I’m sure that most of them are in a deep slumber trying to catch up on all the sleep they missed out on this year. I am jealously thinking about the summer holiday they have ahead of them, so I made a list of things I think one should do before starting your first official job as a doctor.
If you don’t sleep a lot during your last big holiday I might actually disown you.
2. Do what you’ve been dreaming of all year
In my case it was spending the festive season with my family; for others, it was traveling. DO IT NOW. You deserve it.
Chances are you’ll be moving into a new place – maybe even a new city! Instead of chucking everything your own into boxes, spend some time going through the detritus of your life and getting rid of things you don’t need or don’t use. Haven’t worn that all year? Chuck it. It’s the age of minimalism – dust is gross and moving companies are expensive. If it’s old and gross throw it away; if someone might still use it, donate it to a charity shop.