The History Will Tell You What You Need To Know

“Take the history.”

In medical school, I quickly learned this was the go-to answer that would always be right but also buy you a few more minutes to figure out which medical factoid your attending was really asking you about. Some clinical mentors would go so far as to say that a history was the only thing you really needed to make a diagnosis – forget physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging. Take the history.

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A Letter to New M3s

Dear Rising M3s,

First things first, congratulations! You have officially moved past one of the hardest experiences in medical school (the dreaded Step 1). You are now entering the best two years of medical school, your clinical years. These are the years where you can finally begin to put all the knowledge you have absorbed over these first two years to use. These are the years where you finally start to practice medicine (you know, the thing you worked towards in college, studied your butt off for on the MCAT, and sweated through the application, interview, and waiting processes)!

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A Familial Foundation

Leading up to Giving Day, I’ve been reflecting on how the generosity and sacrifices of others have influenced not only my decision to pursue a career in medicine, but also to persevere when things go south. My parents played a crucial role in making this reality possible, and I will forever be grateful to them. But last year, thanks to the UofSCSOMG Benevolence Fund (student emergency fund), I was able to visit two additional people in Mexico whom I respect deeply and were instrumental in setting the foundation for my medical career: my grandparents. Having the opportunity to spend time with my grandparents in the town of La Cañada Michoacán, Mexico, my birthplace, gave me greater insight into the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the start of my education in the United States.

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Noticing

I wrote this poem during my internal medicine inpatient rotation about a cancer patient we rounded on daily. Although he was doing fairly well under the circumstances, the difference in his appearance and demeanor before and after losing his hair was striking. As a medical student, I have learned much more from my patients than any lecture.

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How Do You Have Faith in Medicine When It Failed You

One of my most scarring moments from my childhood was opening my plastic lunch bag at school and seeing carrots and apples instead of Cheez-its and Dunkaroos. I longed for white bread sandwiches with the crust cut off, but instead got whole grain “heel” pieces with something healthy stuck in the middle. We grew up privileged with the knowledge that eating healthy and exercising would bring us lengthy and prosperous lives. As long as I can remember, we did everything right. We exercised daily, ate balanced meals, went to the doctor and dentist regularly (and flossed!), and supported each other unconditionally. We had faith in preventative medicine and in return we expected it to look after us.

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True Love in Medical School

Today’s post is by two authors: Mandy Laney and her husband, third-year student Zegilor Laney. Their honesty regarding balancing marriage and family life is both great advice to future and fellow medical students and their spouses, and a realistic glimpse of how not just  students but also their families are laying down their lives for the future of health care. Thank you so much, Mandy and Zegilor!

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On Death and Dying

Nothing had prepared me for it. The beeps of the monitor were slowing down, and the rattle of the last few breaths was making itself heard. Time seemed to stop. The beeps fell silent, and the feeling in the room was solemn. The dark room was empty aside from me and him.

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Content Expert/Context Expert

It’s 11:30 PM on a Friday night. I am running on five hours of sleep, and I still have seven hours left on this shift. No, I am not a resident. I’m not even a third- or fourth-year medical student. I am an M1, a first-year medical student. My white coat is still fresh off the rack, and I am currently helping two paramedics transport a patient who has severely dislocated her ankle. Don’t worry, I am now a Nationally Registered EMT, so this isn’t quite the “Training Day” scenario. This lady, we’ll call her “Mrs. Smith,” was incredibly sweet and had quite a sense of humor. I was completely confounded by her tolerance for pain. Her foot looks like it is hanging on to her leg by a thread, and she is not phased one bit.
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First Times

Med school is a series of firsts.

The first time I sutured a skin laceration on a real, living, breathing human being, all by myself.

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Reflecting on 2018

Starting my third year of medical school brought a mix of emotions: eagerness, nervousness and wonder. Now halfway through, my heart has been touched and molded by some of the strongest and most resilient patients. One particular patient that had an everlasting impression and touched my heart was someone who I will call Mary.  Continue Reading →