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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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!
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.
I wanted to write this post last week, but I had to play some serious catch-up with school work instead. I shared a little bit about the conference I attended in D.C. and the amazing celebs I met (!!) but I wanted to let you in about why I attended in the first place and why I think more medical students should be engaged in advocacy.
Prior to medical school, I worked at a policy non-profit in D.C. for three years. Part of my job included meeting with Congressional staff and legislators and running workshops to give high schoolers and adults the skills to be an advocate at the local, state, and federal level. I loved teaching about the basics of government, a little bit about a policy issue, and giving some tips for effective advocacy. [I’ll be back soon with my tips for effective advocacy!]
I love to cook and there is nothing I enjoy more than ending my day in the kitchen with a glass of wine. But sometimes I’m just too tired or have other things going on at night and don’t get around to making dinner, which means I end up without leftovers to take for lunch. And when that happens, I end up at Panera. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Panera — I probably eat it a little too much. But I shouldn’t eat it every day, or really any fast casual/fast food on campus — it’s not good for my body and not good for my wallet. To keep myself from eating tomato soup every day, I try to meal prep, at the very least, my lunches for the week every Sunday. A food blogger I am not, so please enjoy this picture of me eating a delicious dessert instead of the horrendous photos I take of the, albeit delicious, food I cook.
The “pre-clinical” years of medical school are pretty similar at most medical schools — anatomy, basic science courses, and organ modules. No matter how the curriculum works, you spend a lot of time watching lectures and studying in the library. I only have two weeks left of our cardiovascular system module and then it’s Spring Break and our last module of MS1, Neuroscience and Behavioral Science! I had a busier than usual day earlier this week and thought I’d take you through it!