Q&A with Dr. Emma Stanton, Psychiatry, Population Mental Health

Dr. Emma Stanton is a psychiatrist and Regional Chief Partnerships Officer at Beacon Health Options, a company which is uses a data-driven approach to work with mental health service providers across the US. She is also CEO of its international subsidiary Beacon UK, co-founder and director of the mentorship network Diagnosis, and a General Advisory Council Member at The Kings Fund.
Dr. Stanton obtained her medical degree from Southampton University (2000), completed her MRCPsych from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2005), and obtained her MBA at Imperial College London (2009).
Prior to working at Beacon Health Options, Dr. Stanton completed her clinical training at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She has also served as Clinical Advisor to the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health in London, which included placements to BUPA and the World Health Organization.

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What to Expect as a Med School Spouse: Years 3 and 4

Medical Spouse

By Amy Rakowczyk, SDN Staff Writer

With Step 1 completed, and hopefully after a little R&R, your spouse is ready to get out there and try their hard-won knowledge in the clinics! Also coming up, your spouse will be selecting a specialty and starting the process of researching residency programs. They will put their application package together, go through the interview process, rank the programs, and wait for the much anticipated Match Day, then graduation! It will be a lot in a short amount of time, so here’s your breakdown of what to expect!

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Board Preparation: Training for a Marathon, not a Sprint 

The first key to success on the boards is using practice questions to develop your “hunch reflex.” If you’re a second year medical student, “kinda-sorta” thinking about a certain test you’ll have to take in about six months, and you haven’t already begun using USMLE/COMLEX-style practice questions in your study, you should start now. Even if you’re just half way through first year, start incorporating the following advice into your study plan: questions, questions, questions!

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Sustainability: How Your Partnership Can Survive and Flourish During a Medical Education and Career

Medical Spouse

Happy New Year from Student Doctor Network! I have always loved the beginning of a new year. It’s a time to reflect on the past, look ahead to the future, find a fresh perspective on your life and situation, and create new wishes for yourself and your family going forward. There is an electricity that surrounds us and gives us hope that not only can we achieve what we’re dreaming of, but we can also find more happiness and fun in our lives.

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What You Should Know: Exploring Techniques for Nonpharmacological Pain Control

What You Should Know is an ongoing series covering a range of informational topics relevant to current and future healthcare professionals.
Pain assessment and control is something which every doctor going into practice will have to face, regardless of his or her specialty. Pain is the number one reason why Americans seek out medical treatment in the first place and is estimated that some 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain – at a cost to the US health system of $100 billion a year. It is the leading cause of disability for Americans over the age of 45 and carries with it tremendous health and social costs to patients, their families and society as a whole.

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The Chemistry of Gender and Coming Out in Medical School

“Is it trans or cis?” It’s a question that has tortured many pre-professional students studying organic chemistry for the better part of a century. Effectively learning stereochemistry and its notation really comes down to the permutations of trans, cis, and chiral centers. I think one of my mentors summed it up best when I asked him if he found Organic Chemistry useful in medical school and in his practice as a physician: “Yep, I finally learned how to pronounce all those shampoo ingredients!”

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Medical Students and Mental Health

Mental health is a topic which is discussed more openly in our society in recent decades and is, slowly, become less stigmatized. This, ironically, does not seem to be the case when it comes to the issue of mental health problems among medical students. The nature of medical school, and attitudes of medical students themselves, can set up barriers between students who need help and the programs that can help them. This article looks at the widespread nature of this problem in American and overseas medical schools, and also what can be done to help solve it.

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Residents and Fellows: Your Guide to the Right Career Path

You’ve earned your medical degree, worked your way through your residency or fellowship program and are now on your way to a career as a full-time physician. But what career path should you take — work in a hospital setting, join a private practice, start your own practice, or even work locum tenens assignments on a part-time or permanent basis?
Here are some tips to help you decide the best career option for you.

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The Soft Skills You Need to be a Leader in Medicine

Medicine needs a strong core of leadership now more than ever. Medical students and new physicians spend massive amounts of time training and studying the basics of medicine, yet they may not be receiving training in many of the soft skills required to be a leader in today’s medical environment.
Being knowledgeable about disease and various forms of treatment is absolutely vital, but soft skills are what separates a good physician from a great physician. These skills include communication, collaboration, and confidence. As physicians, we are expected to practice as a team, and ultimately be the leader of that team. Let’s discuss how you can prepare to be a leader in medicine.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew At The Beginning of Medical School

It is not just nostalgia and excitement that grips me as I am nearing the end of medical school. A part of me is terrified at the thought of finally having to own that white coat, to be the person in charge. There is another part (though not as dominant) that is filled partly with regret. Regret over the things I didn’t do, the things I could have done differently, the moments I missed, the unnecessary anxieties…

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Humanitarian Opportunities for Medical and Pre-Med Students

Although repeated to the point of being cliche, “to help people” is one of the most popular answers would-be doctors give when asked why they want to go into medicine. The great news is that there are many humanitarian work opportunities for pre-med students, med students and even new doctors to undertake that will not only hone their clinical skills and make them more culturally competent physicians, but also allow them to give medical care to those who might not otherwise receive it.

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Not “Ours” Anymore: Sharing Our Doctor Spouses

Medical Spouse

By Amy Rakowczyk

One thing is certain during medical school: your medical spouse is going to study and work a lot of hours. This is a necessary part of becoming a doctor. They need years of studying, preparing, and training in order to be able to perform the job. The time required means that you, the medical student spouse/partner, will have less time with them. There will be fewer hours when they are available. That is the hard reality.

It’s easy to start thinking about how unfair this is. You are left with gaping holes of time and are by default in charge of all the non-medical school items. You are working harder too, with less support. The unfairness of it can quickly turn into resentment and bitterness.

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An Introduction to Student Loans

Consider these three questions. First, what is a loan? Second, how is it typically is structured? Third, do you know how much you will be paying back if you borrowed x amount? I always wished someone had personally educated me and answered these very questions.
It has been almost 20 years since I chose my college (an expensive one), and almost 10 since I made my decision to pursue a career in pharmacy (a smarter choice, but still expensive one). I consider myself fortunate because my profession (for the most part) allows me to pay back the student loan I have accumulated and still enjoy a lifestyle I had imagined.

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Five Tips for Staying Healthy and Productive in School

staying healthy and productive

While your dream of getting accepted to medical school probably involves countless nights studying, hundreds of volunteer hours, and a very long application process, taking time for yourself may not always be at the top of your priority list. What many aspiring doctors tend to forget is that taking some time to relax can actually boost your productivity once you get back to work.

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Answering The Most Common Question in Medical Education

Central to the skillset of every physician is the differential diagnosis; this is the process by which new patients are evaluated to establish the most likely diagnosis. Similarly, the first clinical year of medical school is like a differential for each student, except instead of a medical diagnosis, students are seeking to determine which specialty they will choose. This column explores this differential: experiences from each rotation by a current third year student.
Doctors-in-training have heard this question thousands of times, beginning the moment they announced their intentions to pursue a career as a physician: The question, of course, is some variant of “What kind of doctor do you want to be?” Before I interviewed for medical school, I was told to answer noncommittally; it was suggested that, if I already knew what kind of doctor I planned to become, it would imply the clinical years weren’t important to me. I was told to leave it open-ended so as not to rule any specialty out too early. I see the value in that—looking back, how could I have possibly had a good idea, given my limited clinical exposure before medical school? Even for students that do have clinical experience, it’s easy to imagine they could change their minds and, regardless, should be open to learning from the clinical years. Similarly, we were told not to answer too definitively during third year either—the idea being that if we tell an attending what we want to do, and it isn’t the specialty we are currently working with, we will be permanently alienating ourselves from that profession.

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How Test Prep Prepares Me To Be An Effective Physician

minorities and the mcat

Before medical school, the dream of becoming a physician involves helping people and curing disease. During medical school, that dream matures through educational and clinical experiences into a realization that being a physician is something much deeper, a permanent responsibility that only those who are doctors themselves will understand.
Every patient is a trial and error that can lead to life or death. Is the abdominal pain just constipation, a brewing appendicitis, or even worse, colon cancer? Is the patient presentation worthy of simple reassurance, or perhaps blood work, or—to be safe—diagnostic imaging?

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Managing Anxiety on Test Day

managing anxiety

Taking the MCAT can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, many students develop significant test anxiety as a result of the MCAT’s role in the medical school admissions process. If this scenario describes you, here are several tips to help you successfully manage this anxiety:

1. Review difficult details and concepts on your test day
As you study for the MCAT, proactively compile a list of those details and concepts that you consistently struggle to understand. On the morning of your exam, wake up an hour early to review this list. This can help you refresh your memory and begin the MCAT in a much calmer mood.

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Managing Bipolar Disorder in Medical School

Two days before interviewing at the medical school I now attend, I couldn’t get out of bed. At the nadir of my eighth major depressive episode in eight years, I seriously considered whether I could make the trip. Thankfully, I did. And thankfully, six days after that interview I met the psychiatrist who would finally piece together my long and steadily worsening psychiatric history.

I sat in his office, quiet and dulled compared to my spring and summer self, and began recounting my story – the weightiness of my current depression, the semester in college marked by a mere two to four hours of sleep a night (“insomnia” according to my doctor then), and the clockwork nature of my mood changes each year. Within ten minutes, he stopped me mid-sentence and said, almost casually, “You know, you show a lot of signs of bipolar disorder.”

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