My Elective Rotation at a Poison Control Center

My Elective Rotation at a Poison Control Center

I just finished a two week elective at a poison control center and it was such a unique experience. I learned SO much – and not just medical management of common poisonings, but also some public health knowledge and that poison control is a fantastic (and underutilized) resource for medical professionals! I’m not sure how common this is as a rotation, but if your school offers it, I would recommend it. I’m lucky that one of the three poison control centers (PCC) in Florida is located on my medical school campus.

There are 55 PCC’s spread around the United States and they pick up the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to give FREE advice and management direction. And they all use a single national hotline number – 1 (800) 222-1222. The only thing to note is that currently, it will direct you to the PCC that is geographically closely to the area code you are calling from, so if you live in one state but have a cell phone area code from another state, this might be the one time to use a landline!

Before I started this rotation, I had two ideas in mind for when someone would call poison control – when their child drank bleach or if they got bit by a snake.

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Resources I Used for Third Year Clinical Rotations

Resources I Used for Third Year Clinical Rotations

Be warned, this is a LONG post. During my third year of medical school, I completed six “core” rotations: internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics. While third year was exhausting and stressful, it was my favorite year of medical school because I was finally interacting with patients instead of just PowerPoints and textbooks. I have found that the way to succeed on any rotation is to be on time, be respectful, and be curious. But, of course, you also have to study.

In my mind, there are two different categories of resources for clinical rotations: those to help you succeed on the wards and those to help you study for end-of-rotation exams (also called “shelf” exams). There will be overlap in the material between the two categories, but keep in mind that there will be plenty of times where the most updated treatment guidelines used in the hospital will not match with the correct answer on an exam. And yes, some of the resources I have linked cost money BUT especially for the books, I would encourage you to first check your medical school library for online access or ask an upperclassman if they would sell/give you their copies. This was very common at my school and you certainly don’t need pristine, new copies of these resources for them to be helpful. This list is far from exhaustive, but it should get you started!

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What’s in My Bag For Medical School Rotations

What’s in My Bag For Medical School Rotations

There’s nothing I like more than being prepared and as such, I carry all sorts of things in my bag every day. But there’s a difference between going to an office and going to work at the hospital, especially as a trainee who is new to everything! Before I started my clinical rotations in medical school, I did more than a few Google searches to figure out what I needed to bring to the hospital or clinic and what could I leave at home. I didn’t find a great answer, so now that I’m just about done with rotations, I thought it would be helpful for anyone just starting out or trying to lessen their load to share what I actually used, what never came out of my bag, and what I wished I had thrown in.

What I Actually Used:

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Two Interviews On My Journey to Medicine

Two Interviews On My Journey to Medicine

I had such a fun time talking about my journey to medicine with Jenn on the “How Did You End Up There?” podcast the other week! It’s definitely not typical to start out in politics and end up a (almost) physician, but I can’t imagine any other path. I learned many valuable lessons along the way and had the opportunity to delve into interests that I might not have as a pre-med at 18 or as a medical student in my early 20s. We sacrifice a lot to find the time to learn all we can to save and improve lives. You can listen to the episode here – be sure to check out all of the other episodes too! It’s so interesting to get glimpses into other winding career paths.

I was also interviewed by my medical school magazine about my interest in public health and advocacy as a medical student and future physician. As I mention in the article, it is so important for medical students (and all health professionals) to see beyond the four walls of the clinic. Our patients exist in vibrant communities and we have a responsibility to understand how their social interactions and environments impact their health. It’s the main reason I started this blog – to educate and empower the next generation of physicians to do the most good for their patients.

You can read more about my career change here!

When We Know Better, We Can Do Better

When We Know Better, We Can Do Better

How much does your doctor know about health policy and how it impacts you as a patient?

Unfortunately, not enough. Medical students are given little to no knowledge on how policy and politics influence the system we will train and ultimately practice in.

I’ve already written about this a few times, so check out this post on engaging in advocacy as a medical student, this one about integrating health policy in medical school, and this post on how medical schools are failing students on health policy.

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Day in the Life: Halloween + Babies Edition

Day in the Life: Halloween + Babies Edition

Good morning from the couch! I’m taking it easy this morning and watching Grey’s Anatomy while I put this post together. I shadowed labor & delivery last night (omg babies!!) and didn’t get to bed until almost 1am. Wayyyyy past my bedtime, so I didn’t set an alarm and slept in until 8:30, so rare for me! I thought it would be fun to share a little day in the life from yesterday. It wasn’t an exceptionally exciting day aside from shadowing and lots of halloween candy, but it’s a pretty good representation of what MS2 has been like so far!

6:00am I stayed up late last night carving a pumpkin and watching Hocus Pocus with my friends in hopes I would sleep in, but no such luck. Going to need a coffee late to stay up for L&D.

6:15am COFFEE, read the news, and listen to my favorite classical NPR station

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How Medical Students Prepare for Real Patients

How Medical Students Prepare for Real Patients

I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of October! It feels like just yesterday I came back from summer break. Time really does speed up when you’re cramming your brain full of knowledge. In addition to learning about a lot of disease pathology (we just started renal so it’s all kidneys all the time), this year has really been focused on taking what we’ve learned and translating it into clinical skills. This week was busy with opportunities to practice my skills. I had a standardized patient exercise, shadowed a physician in primary care clinic, and learned how to perform the male exam. Next week, I’ll be practicing my motivational interviewing skills, which come in handy for encouraging patients to make important behavior changes.

I thought I’d share a little bit more about standardized patients, which is one way medical students practice the skills we’ll need in clinic. I won’t divulge many details about the actual scenarios (they are often reused and I wouldn’t want compromise a younger student’s learning opportunity) but I do think it’s important for those interested in medical school to understand this specific way we practice skills prior to clinical rotations. Keep in mind that every school does this differently, so this is based on my own experience.

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My Interview with Accepted

My Interview with Accepted

Over the summer, I was interviewed by Accepted for their “What is Medical School Really Like?” series. I talked about my journey from legislative affairs to medicine and gave some insight into how medical school is going so far! If you’ve never heard of Accepted before, you can check them out here. They offer consulting services for students applying to college and graduate school in addition to a podcast and blog that break down the world of admissions and school life.

In my interview, I shared about being a career changer, applying smart, valuing your story, and why medical students should care and be involved in health advocacy. Yep, I definitely got on my soap box a bit! You can read the whole interview here!

Here are some other great interviews to check out:

Staying Motivated in Medical School

Staying Motivated in Medical School

Happy Sunday! I woke up early, per usual even for the weekend, and enjoyed my Sunday morning ritual of classical music, coffee, and the New York Times. Anyone else have a weekend ritual? Today is all about meal prep, laundry, and studying. Only one week until our neuro midterm and there’s so much to know – the brain is amazing and incredibly complex!

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a brunch hosted by my school’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter. Every person in medicine has their own unique challenges, but there are certainly some that women feel more acutely. It was wonderful to meet so many female physicians and learn from their experiences. I’m excited for more events like it in the future!

After brunch, I stopped at Trader Joes for the first time in months and stocked up on my favorite peanut butter pretzels! I picked up all the ingredients to make this black bean, quinoa, and citrus salad. This morning I also made some shrimp to throw on the salad, far too much salsa, and the best carrot salad ever! I put the carrots on a salad with marinated goat cheese for lunch and it might be my new go-to — so many flavors!

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Reading for Fun in Medical School

Reading for Fun in Medical School

I read all the time in medical school — but it’s rare that I am reading something other than a textbook, research study, or study guide. I used to be a voracious reader; I’m still bitter about a summer reading contest I lost when I was in elementary school. Now my only consistent non-school reading is the Sunday Routine feature each Sunday in the New York Times.

I miss the days I would take the train from Philly to NYC and sit in Central Park with a book and a chocolate chip brioche from Levain Bakery before going to see a Broadway show (#dreams). Now, my nightstand is stacked with books I’d like to read, but many nights I find it too mentally draining to read and put on Netflix instead. Medical school is exhausting and overwhelming, and the amount of facts I need to read and remember makes little room for anything else. At night, there’s just nothing like watching an episode of The Office for the 100th time to lull you to sleep.

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