Guide to SDN Resources

SDN Resources

Updated October 21, 2021. When most people think of the Student Doctor Network, they think … Read more

How to Thrive On a Rotation You Don’t Like

rotation you don't like

It is Friday afternoon at 4 pm. I’m headed to see a consult while simultaneously attempting to shove a granola bar in my mouth and respond to several pages. My intern is somewhere frantically discharging people and post-oping the day’s OR cases. My medical student lists along several feet behind me, dragging his feet and clearly hating life. The consult turns out to be operative, so I call my staff, book the OR, activate the emergency surgery pathway, consent the patient, talk to the family and write the note in rapid succession while my medical student hovers beside me. As I hit “sign” on my note, I hear the sharp intake of breath that heralds the coming question.
“Do you need me for anything else?”
“Well, we are taking this patient to the operating room. It should be a relatively quick, but interesting case. Would you like to join us?”
“Ummm.”
“I see. Well, you don’t have to. You can go.”
“Ok. Sounds good. Oh, and I was wondering, is it ok if I take this weekend off? My friend from college is getting married tomorrow and his bachelor party is tonight, so…”
“We usually have you guys round at least one day each weekend.”
“Oh, ok. It’s just that he’s, you know, my best friend, and I’m the best man, and I kinda have to stay out with him, so…”
“Fine. Have fun,” I respond, in a flat tone and turn back to my computer.

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Q&A with Adaira Landry, MD, MEd, Harvard Emergency Medicine Assistant Residency Director

adaira Landry

Adaira Landry, MD, MEd, is the Assistant Residency Director for the Harvard Emergency Medicine Residency.  She went to UC Berkley where she earned degrees in Molecular Cell Biology and African American Studies. After a gap year for work and research, she attended UCLA for medical school. Dr. Landry completed her emergency medicine residency at NYU where she served as chief resident her final year. She completed an Ultrasound Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and earned her MEd with a focus on Technology, Innovation and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is interested in digital innovation, resident wellness, and increasing diversity and inclusion in medicine.

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Fourth Year: A Chance To Explore

surgical specialties

By Adelle, Medical Student

The process of applying to residency can surely be daunting. I’ve compiled a list of programs that I am interested in (as a quick refresher, I’m applying to OB/GYN programs), whether that be in terms of geography, the size of the program, proximity to family, etc. Many, many factors go into just deciding on a list of programs, and then there’s the process of actually completing and submitting applications. I feel like my life thus far has been a series of applications: college, medical school, residency . . . when will it end? Apparently not yet, because there is yet another application process: one for “away” rotations, or those away from your home institution that (usually) take place during the fourth year of medical school. They are a unique opportunity to explore medical specialties and settings in a way you will never have again.

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Entering Third Year With An Open Mind

surgical specialties

By Adelle, Medical Student

I went into my third year with a somewhat open mind in terms of what I thought I liked and what I thought I wanted to do for the next 35 years or so of my life. Internal medicine interested me because you had to know so much about, well, so much. I felt like my brain was getting bigger every day I was on my internal medicine rotation—there was just so much to know! The number of patients you can see is also fairly high on a typical internal medicine service. On the other hand, I had completely discounted general surgery—I was never very interested in anatomy class and didn’t particularly enjoy teasing apart membranes from fascia from blood vessels and nerves. The thought of doing that for the rest of my life didn’t sit well with me. But, nevertheless, I went in with an open mind.

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What Really Matters When Choosing Your Medical School

choosing your medical school

Many students don’t realize that residency match should be top of mind when choosing their medical school. Even though residency is several years away, your time spent as a medical student will determine the fate of your residency. This is because residency directors have various criteria that they look for in their future residents, and this criteria comes from specific factors acquired in medical school.

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Dealing with Subjectivity in Clinical Rotation Evaluations

surgical specialties

One of my friends recently got back her evaluation from a rotation she had just completed. These evaluations, paired with the rotation’s shelf exam determine your score on that particular rotation. Therefore, these evaluations can be pretty important, especially if that is the field you plan to pursue. She looked down the column of various grading parameters and found that while she had received a satisfactory grade, it was not what she wanted. She called me the next week, crying into the phone about how she would never be able to fulfill her dreams because of this evaluation. Now, this may seem crazy to those who are not in medicine, but especially with mounting stress and increasing responsibility, the smallest things can tip people off. Meltdowns like hers are definitely not unheard of, and I have come close to having one myself. It’s hard to be a third year medical student, and the subjectivity of these grading systems that can exacerbate that.

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Making Clerkships Work

Are clerkships a grind, or a boon?  It’s up to you.

The second-year students are moving from the pre-clinical curriculum to the clerkships this week. This transition is exciting—after all, seeing patients is what they’ve come to medical school to do, and now it’s finally happening.

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Making Mistakes

making mistakes

I walked into the room with my stethoscope around my neck, still running through everything I needed to go over with this patient before I presented them to the attending physician. I wanted it to be perfect, to make sure there is nothing I left out, nothing I could be criticized for. I collected the information systematically, went through my physical exam, and walked out ready to present the case. As we rounded, we went through everyone’s patients one by one and finally it was my turn. I sweat through my scrubs, and I felt my note sheet dampen in my hands. Why am I still so nervous? I thought to myself. Oh, that’s right—it’s because if I messed this up, I know I’ll replay the entire discussion in my head ad nauseum and feel embarrassed all over again and not be able to sleep at night.

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Getting What You Want: Considering Both Life and Career Goals When Choosing a Specialty

Chronicles of a Med Student

Under the glow of the OR lights, I could barely make out the pulsating artery through all the layers of fat. This is so cool I thought to myself. Since my first rotation had been internal medicine, I hadn’t seen a lot of hands on stuff like this. As the OB/GYN swiftly cut through the layers of fascia to get to the target ovary, I watched her quick hands harvest it and pull it out of the body cavity. The ovary itself was grossly misshapen as she gently laid it onto the mayo stand to clean it up before shipping it off to pathology. I held it in my hands and thought of how the patient would no longer have to bear the burden of the things this overgrowth was doing to her body. The surgery was a success and the doctor predicted a very good outcome and quality of life for the young patient from now on. How incredible!

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Choosing a Specialty: Taking a Second Look

fourth year

By Brent Schnipke

As I have spoken with physicians, residents, and other medical students about the process of choosing a medical specialty, the near-universal reply has something to do with the fact that third-year rotations barely offer enough exposure to each specialty to make an informed decision. Third-year medical students move quickly between specialties, and are often granted only a few weeks to examine a given career choice and decide whether they like it or not. Because of this, major decisions about how a medical student will practice as a doctor are largely based on brief experiences that can be easily biased by particular patients, residents, attendings, hospital systems, and even external life factors. To control for these variables, most students will finish their third year and use the first part of their fourth year to take a “second look” at the specialty they are planning to apply for and to help those students who remain undecided.

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