Fall Down Once, Stand Up Twice

…and I guess that applies to blogging as much as it does to med school life.

I’m back.  It’s funny how life works out sometimes.  I thought that coming into third year I’d have so much time to do the things I wanted to do and enjoy life again.  WRONG.  While I feel like I have more time now than I used to, I don’t.  I simply choose to spend it on different things.

Over the last six months, I have completely gotten out of study mode and into mom-wife-work-mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my rotations so far (Cardiology, Allergy, ENT, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine…but that’s another post) and have learned a lot.  BUT, in no way have I studied as much as I have in the past.

It’s caught up with me.

January 13th, I began my core rotations – Pediatrics to start.  At the end of this 4-week rotation, I will take a COMAT exam covering everything there is to know about pediatrics.  From pharmacology and microbiology to asthma and proper infant development.  Not much, right?  I’m terrified.  Not because of the material but because I’m so out of test taking practice.

While I’m on my core rotations, I will also be taking COMLEX Level 2 in May.  Every osteopathic medical student is required to take a series of three exams in order to be eligible for a medical license.  Level 1 is taken at the end of 2nd year, Level 2 at the end of 3rd year, and Level 3 generally taken before residency is finished.

Needless to say, I need to get back on the study horse.  Tonight I got together a study plan and put my study books in a binder.  I have over 4,000 Qbank questions, 500+ flashcards, and well over 700 pages of review book material.  Feeling good overwhelmed.  But I can do it.  Many before me have done it.  Not to mention I have the support of my husband, son, and classmates – what more could a girl ask for :)

Discipline.  Every med student needs it. It is an absolute must.  Unfortunately, it left me quickly once I left the classroom.  For the remainder of the month, I’m getting my focus back.  My quest to reclaim my discipline begins tomorrow –  Gym (yea, for free gym memberships from the hospital). Work. Love on my family. Study. Sleep. Repeat.  It will come back quickly.

I have met some amazing people and have great stories to share.  One such story that helped me decide on my future specialty (stay tuned).  I’m beginning to navigate the waters of residency program audition rotations and applications…should be interesting.  Love for you to join me for the ride.

Until next time, take care.

Third Year’s a Charm

It’s pretty easy to describe your first two years of medical school – classroom.  Sitting in a classroom.  Studying in a classroom.  Taking an exam in a classroom.  Seriously, that sums it up.  While there are details to share, I will leave that to my esteemed colleagues Dru (OMS-II) and Justin (OMS-I).  Third year is a different beast.  There are still exams and there are still classrooms.  However, our classrooms transition to surgical suites, clinical exam rooms, and hospital beds.  The exams become more frequent (it’s called getting pimped) and more meaningful.  Wrong answers here don’t always translate into lower grades but they can impact a patient’s life.  This is where we begin to learn what physicians do – the nuances of medicine no one can teach in a classroom.

Here’s how third year breaks down at DCOM.  In about March, each OMS-II is assigned a clinical rotation site and a “core” slot (core 1 or core 2).  What’s a core?  Glad you asked!  Core rotations are rotations that every student who graduates from DCOM has to complete.  For OMS-III’s they are:

- Pediatrics

- Surgery

- Internal Medicine

- Family Medicine

- Obstetrics/Gynecology

- Behavioral Medicine

Each rotation is 4 weeks long, except for internal medicine which is 8 weeks in length.  I’m sure you’re looking at that list of 28 week’s worth of work and thinking where the other 24 weeks went.  The remaining time is split between vacation time (YEA!) and selective/elective rotations.  Selective/elective rotations can essentially be done in any specialty allowing for exposure to different fields of medicine.  While there are some minor restrictions, there aren’t many.  The biggest restriction is that you have to say in the United States.  Bummer?  Sure, but that’s something that keeps me looking forward to fourth year…British Isles, here I come!

I was assigned to our brand new rotation site in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  It was such a great deal for our family! The move has put us so much closer to family, which is a big deal when you have a kiddo at home!  The Fort (how I lovingly refer to Fort Smith) has been an awesome place to live.  Friendly citizens, beautiful landscape, and most importantly, Target :)  It’s been great.  I was given core 2 so the rotations listed above won’t start for me until January 2014.  So far I have completed two selective rotations – one in Pediatrics and one in Cardiology.  I loved both and learned a lot.  Picking a specialty is going to be tough for me, I can tell already.

In these short 8 weeks, I have learned what I believe to be a very valuable lesson.  My two wonderful preceptors  embodied what I believe should be at the heart of everything in medicine – teaching.  These two men are doctors in the truest sense of the word; after all, the word doctor derives from the Latin verb docere (to teach).  I listened to these men explain very complex disease processes simply, removing the complexity which bogs down so many students (because that is what is asked of us the first two years).  I was struck by the ease with which they answered questions and the way I struggled to do the same.  To teach you must truly understand, and it is clear I still have a lot of work to do. Patients don’t come to the doctor solely to be taught about what ails them.  They come for the teacher to provide a remedy for what ails them.  That’s where you find the work of a physician.  The term physician comes with rather twisted etymology.  Summed up, the root physic can mean to cure or heal…to remedy.  (Seriously, that’s what it means – I had no idea either).

The practice of medicine truly is art and science.  Both take  years of practice and seeing hundreds of patients.  This is what I couldn’t learn in a classroom but learned in the clinic: at my core must be both doctor and physician – teacher and healer.  Not bad for eight weeks.

Oh, and I guess I learned a lot about babies, kids, hearts, and murmurs too :)  I’ll share more about that later.  Met some special people too and I’m sure they’ll creep into my stories from time to time.  Starting Monday it’s all about the allergies!  For now, I’m going to enjoy my family and stalk Pinterest :)

Until next time, take care!

I Want Crazy…

I. Love. This. Song.

It’s such a fun, summertime jam – Cheers to Hunter Hayes.  And CHEERS to my new Blog!

I’m sure while many may not enjoy the ramblings of a tired, third year osteopathic medical student (OMS-III), hopefully there will be someone out there pining for my next update.  So, I guess I should introduce myself.

At this point, I’m actually a well-rested OMS-III out on rotations.  A time when myself and my classmates burst into hospital and clinical settings to apply what we know (which is not much, by the way).  It’s kind of like giving your 16 year old son keys to your new Porsche – you hope you raised him well and that he paid attention in Drivers Ed.  Yes, it’s time to spread our wings and fly.  I’m sure our Dean and professors are sitting on DCOM Hill praying we don’t mess it up.

Seriously though, who am I? Formally, it goes something like this: Non-traditional, Third Year Osteopathic Medical Student.  Short and sweet.  I’m sure there should be some numbers, GPA and class rank, etc. but those don’t matter.  So they say.  Not sure who they are but that’s what they tell me – so I’ll leave those numbers to your imagination.

Here’s MY list, in no certain order: Mother, Wife, Housekeeper, Chef, Taxi Driver, Scrapped Knee Healer, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend, and Student.  Just a little longer but that’s okay.  Oh, and I’m also retired.  Say What??  Yea, well, kinda.  I also used to work; I’ve been in the trenches of retail stores and insurance companies.  After that, med school kind of seems like cake (that was a joke).

Okay, so what’s the deal with the song?  (I knew you were thinking that).  There is a line in the song that sums up my last few years perfectly, “I don’t want easy, I want crazy.”  Over the last 2 years, that’s been my life – definitely not easy and chocked full of crazy.

Through my musings, I hope to share with you my life, my school, and my profession – come along for the ride!

Until next time, take care…