Posts tagged question

Reply: 42 CME Credits

  • Polyacrylamidepensieve: Woah can you use the credits for anything? I have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on uptodate, but my account’s not a personal one so it’s awesome to know they have that feature!
  • UpToDate does have a CME credit submission tool that allows you to describe how you applied the information you reviewed in practice. At this time, because I am not in a practice of my own just yet, I cannot submit them. That will have to wait until after residency.


This time, I answer questions about alternative medicines, the challenges of medicine, the feelings of inadequacy, the unease of dissections, disclosures of personal illness, and late blooming interest in medicine.

Is the Quest to Build a Kinder, Gentler Surgeon Misguided?

I thought that this was an interesting article and would be interested to know what others think of this dichotomy. Can one maintain the hard edge needed to practice at their peak when the training emphasizes a softer touch? Can one be malleable, capable of being both at the same time?

People always complain about how horrible Med School is and complain that it isn't worth it. As someone in Med School do you have any regrets? — Asked by Anonymous


Med school is not worth and horrible it if you’re in it for the wrong reasons.






It’s what your parents/family expects you to do.

You are afraid of trying what you really want to do.

You don’t think any other job is worthwhile.

You want to prove how smart you are.

You don’t actually care about others.

If any of these motives lie in that dark underbelly of your consciousness that you only ever examine at night when you can’t sleep, then I suggest you find another career. Because not only will you be miserable as a physician, but your patients will suffer as well- and they deserve better. Because med school is not fun in a lot of ways.

It is a huge time commitment.

It is very stressful.

It is sleep-depriving sometimes.

It is intimidating.

It is expensive.

But, if you want to help people (cliché as that sounds) and can’t imagine doing anything else, you will also be having the best time of your life at the same time. The path to becoming a physician has highs and lows, and if the lows aren’t worth it to you- and there are some real deep lows- don’t do it.

I do not have any regrets myself.

I approve of this response. Well said.

Mailbag: End of School Edition

This is a short mailbag. I have finally managed to answer every question that was sitting in my inbox. Again, I sincerely apologize to everyone for the long wait. It has been a very tumultuous two months. 

Unlike before however, I will not be re-opening my mailbox immediately. Instead, I will accept questions again at the beginning of July. In the next month and a half, my life will be changing dramatically and a lot still remains to be done: Graduation. Wedding. Honeymoon. Moving. Et cetera. 

I will be allowing the fan mail option for any other kinds of correspondence. My partner and I thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding. 

Tom of the Medical State of Mind

Mailbag: End of School Edition

To those who have asked me a question, I apologize for the long delay. It has been a busy month and there is still much to do in the coming weeks. I will try to get to the remaining questions as quickly as I can.

To the five people who have asked me medical advice related questions, I unfortunately must refrain from answering them. There are some ethical and professional boundaries that I must respect. On here, I am not in a position to give you advice and I would highly recommend that you discuss your concerns with your health care provider in person who may know your medical situation more accurately and can actually do something for you. 

Tom of the Medical State of Mind

Mailbag: Post-CaRMS

A second batch of questions from my inbox. My apologies to those who waited and are still waiting.

Is herd immunity a thing? Can vaccinated people get sick? — Asked by Anonymous

Herd immunity exists and it is well documented. In fact, there is a brilliant animation created by the Harvard Medical School that explains this process.

Vaccinations help prime your body to fight off a specific infection. However, it usually takes a few weeks for your body to create a reserve of immune cells for when you next encounter the infection again. Therefore, if you were infected just before or after receiving the vaccine, you might still get sick because the vaccine did not have ample time to provide any protection.

A summary of how vaccines work is available through the CDC.

I don't know where you find the time to write but I love your blog! How much have you invested in it? — Asked by Anonymous

Thanks for the compliment. I honestly cannot tell you how muchtime-wise I have invested into this blog. I would probably say “far too many hours.” Financially however, my total investment to date is the healthy sum of: $10.

The return on that investment:

  • 2,396 total posts
  • 356 text-based posts
  • 161 links
  • 718 photo sets
  • 110 conversations
  • 108 videos
  • 147 songs
  • 518 sets of questions answered publicly 
  • 1025 sets of questions answered privately

And there is still room to take that ten dollar bill further as I hope to continue blogging into residency and beyond. Thanks again for your question and take care.

I'm an undergraduate who will be applying to medical schools this year. I'm really scared to even try. I experienced a sexual assault in my third year (I'm a fifth year) and the university refused to let me retake the classes from that period in which I made Cs and Bs, as the advisor told me it couldn't be proven. I've been keeping straight As to keep my honors, but how can I explain the poor grades from that time and my comeback without explaining why? — Asked by Anonymous

I cannot imagine how difficult that is an ordeal to go through. No one should have to endure that and I certainly can understand why you would not want to talk about it.

I am sorry to hear that your university has not allowed you to retake the course. I feel that perhaps the best way to explain it would be true to its essence without going into the details. For example, you could ascribe it to a traumatic event in your life at the time that really affected you during that period, something that affected your life on many levels, including school. However you decide to describe it, also highlight the positive turnaround afterwards. By all accounts, you are typically an A student and with a lot of support from your peers, friends, and family, and more importantly a strong will in yourself, you were able to achieve your original performance once again. If they go prodding for details, those are grey-zone questions that are generally not allowed and you should not have to answer them.

While I do not know you personally, I do not think you should be scared to try to apply to medicine. If you have a passion for the practice, and you love the challenges and rewards of being in medicine, then I think it is always worth a try. Everyone is scared to some degree, but we all have so much more to give than we think is possible. If anything, your experiences in all aspects of life make you unique and give you a unique lens through which you interact with your patients. And that is worth trying for.

I wish you the best in life and on all of your future endeavours. Take care and good luck.

Tom of the Medical State of Mind