Posts tagged year in review

Best Posts of 2013
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear.
A man is only as good as what he loves.
The heartbreaking realisation that you are no longer asleep.
Bed Entrapment.
The Body Systems by Rachel Ignotofsky.
Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant.
Home First Aid Kit by Gabriele Meldaikyte.
Medical Apps.
Heart by Aleksandr Kuskov.
Toxins and Antidotes.
Muscle Skin Suit by Tomek Pietek.
She said, “Yes.”
Courtesy of Best of Tumblr.
What was your favourite post of 2013?

Seven-Eighths MD: The Penultimate Review

There has always existed, deeply seeded beneath the surface of my conscience the burning question: where did all of the time go? I have asked myself that many times through my medical training. Now, standing at the threshold of my last semester as a student, the question is even more relevant. What have I been up to these past few months?

Three-Quarters MD: A Year In Review

And just like that, year three passes into my memory, a destination in the rearview mirror. There has been so much to see, so much to process, so much to reflect on this entire year it is difficult to know where to start. Perhaps we should go back to the beginning.

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Third Year Heat Map.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back on my calendar and see what the year looks like in hindsight. I honestly cannot remember what happened in the second week of October but it has been a relatively full year. It would appear that consistently, Thursdays have been the busiest days of the year with weekends coming up next. 
My schedule for the rest of the month and August is finished and it looks to be another full house.
Do you notice any trends in your calendar? Post your calendars with the tag #calendarheatmap or leave a reply.

Third Year Heat Map.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back on my calendar and see what the year looks like in hindsight. I honestly cannot remember what happened in the second week of October but it has been a relatively full year. It would appear that consistently, Thursdays have been the busiest days of the year with weekends coming up next. 

My schedule for the rest of the month and August is finished and it looks to be another full house.

Do you notice any trends in your calendar? Post your calendars with the tag #calendarheatmap or leave a reply.

Five-Eighths MD: A Six Month Review

Third year has been a year of firsts thus far. I have seen and learned a great many things. It has wowed me, excited me, frustrated me, exhausted me, saddened me, and disturbed me in my every day encounters. With half the year behind me now, I would like to talk about my experience.

One-Half: A Year in Review

With two months to organize myself for the coming year, it has given me a lot of time to think about the last year. Three-eighths of the way, I gave a review of the first term of second year. Now, another term complete and having earned half my M.D. title, it feels right to write another summary. 

Given that it is the largest organ by surface area, it was amusing to see dermatology condensed into a single week. I suppose once you know the ABCDEs of categorizing skin lesions, you are well equipped to handle any situation. However, sometimes lesions are vague or very similar in appearance to others. Land mine or dud? Tread carefully.

Then came the brain. Over a gruelling two month period, we explored the deepest anatomical corners of the brain, learned tracts from top to bottom, and studied behaviour and psychology. The challenges of this block were two fold. First, some of the concepts were difficult to abstract, especially understanding the relation and integration of various tracts, in itself a complex web of interactions. Secondly, due to the complexity of the brain, some concepts could not be covered without mentioning other points of interest that would be covered further in the block. It was constantly a struggle to keep up with concepts A and B, when concept B was to be further discussed a few weeks later. Only at the end of the block could we  finally see the big picture.

After the struggles above, we went down into the reproduction block, a simple and easy to follow curriculum that was a welcome change of pace. This block was noteworthy for its overabundance of graphic pictures and videos and the fair warning to the ladies of our class to be weary of advanced maternal age. 

The last block, following the reproductive block nicely was paediatric and adolescent development. The big talking points in this block were milestones and nutrition factoids. The key to understanding this block was to memorize the facts cold. Getting the short end of the stick, the study time for this block suffered in light of its close proximity to our final exams. We held our breath that the few factoids we tried to memorize each day would stay fresh enough in our minds for the exam. 

Histology, pathology, and anatomy continued to be integrated into the curriculum wherever it applied. Anatomy in particular took centre stage for the brain, while histology was important for the skin, the brain, and for reproduction.

Family practice and clinical skills courses continued to give us exposure to the routines we would need to know for our careers. 

The exams this term were again challenging. I would rank them as equal to those from last term. The questions that caused me the most difficulties were the scenario questions. Reading and digesting the information presented in the scenario took time and slowed me down to a panic. Time was of the essence and I had to work fast. I dreaded every one of these questions.

For my rural rotation, which is actually part of my third year, I have already written my thoughts on that in a prior post. Now I am just trying to get my affairs in order and enjoy the summer while I still can.

Exam Review

I went to two review sessions today, one for neuroanatomy and the other for gross anatomy. For the last few weeks, they have been sitting on the back burner. Tougher and more complicated material had to be prioritized. This left me anxious going in.

I was afraid to discover that I was wholly unprepared for the lab exams, one of the first on my schedule. It could be a very nasty wake up call.

Surprisingly though, I walked out of the whole four hour session feeling quite secure in my knowledge. Sure, there was the occasional gap in my knowledge but I had retained quite a bit from the months before, enough that I am sure that I could pass. 

Now, I am feeling a little bit more comfortable about focusing more on my other blocks.

Three-Eighths: A Term in Review

Another term has come to an end and I am now one step closer to graduation, albeit an unsteady one. This term has been a bittersweet journey on a cobbled road. There were beautiful times spent and wonderful things witnessed, but it has had its harsher times; there were moments on this stretch where the forest grew so thick and dark I could have lost my way. But I managed. I have managed to get through this term, but this is just the first stretch of terrain. Another term awaits.

One Quarter MD: A Year in Review.
Considering I made a term in review post back in December, it seemed only fitting that I also do one for the year.
Host, Disease and Infections kicked off the new term. A course that many previous classes have dreaded as a poorly structured block, it turned out surprisingly well. We learned that a crack team of curriculum reviewers had revamped the course and it turned out to be quite straightforward. It centred around bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology and the pharmacological treatments behind them. A dense class, but certainly doable.
Cardiovascular block has consistently been a well-taught class since its inception and this year was no different. Part of its ease is because the heart is a very straightforward organ to study. The drugs on the other hand proved to be somewhat difficult. With class I-IV medications with different indications each, it was a tough one to wrap your head around sometimes.
Pulmonary block ended up being the hardest block for me when it came to exams. Not to say the system is difficult, but it is challenging to put things into perspective. V/Q perfusion mismatches were everywhere and cancer was something that kept cropping up every week. One of the subliminal messaging seemed to be “if you don’t suspect TB, you’ll miss it.”
Fluids, Electrolytes, Renal and Genitourinary (FERGU) block was the last block of the year, facing off against the kidney and bladder components, There was a lot of overlapping information from last term that served as a foundation. Being the last block before exams, this gave us less time to study for but also made the material freshest in our minds. In the exams, this worked out alright.
Clinical skills was an enjoyable class. While last term’s equivalent was all about history taking, this term focused more on physical exams. With our smaller class sizes in the distributed sites, our small groups were actually small: four compared to the eight in Vancouver, affording us more hands-on time each.
Family practice practicum lasted the whole term this year as opposed to the four visits we had last term. I recall the visits feeling a little long and drawn out last term but visiting each week seemed to take the edge off. I certainly learned much more in the clinic this term.
Of course, there was the healthy complement of histology labs, pathology labs and anatomy labs that rounded out each block.
As we settled into our northern program, class dynamics have changed somewhat. There have been new friendships made with people I did not really get an opportunity to bond with last term and new relationships in class. Class cohesion and morale remained high all term as we banded together for exercise classes, meditation, competitions and dinners. It really emphasized the benefits of a small class.
For brevity’s sake, I will not put up any more but I think this is a fairly accurate summary of this term. I can now call myself 1/4 MD; the journey to this point has been fun and exciting and we’re only just getting warmed up.

One Quarter MD: A Year in Review.

Considering I made a term in review post back in December, it seemed only fitting that I also do one for the year.

  • Host, Disease and Infections kicked off the new term. A course that many previous classes have dreaded as a poorly structured block, it turned out surprisingly well. We learned that a crack team of curriculum reviewers had revamped the course and it turned out to be quite straightforward.
    It centred around bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology and the pharmacological treatments behind them. A dense class, but certainly doable.
  • Cardiovascular block has consistently been a well-taught class since its inception and this year was no different. Part of its ease is because the heart is a very straightforward organ to study. The drugs on the other hand proved to be somewhat difficult. With class I-IV medications with different indications each, it was a tough one to wrap your head around sometimes.
  • Pulmonary block ended up being the hardest block for me when it came to exams. Not to say the system is difficult, but it is challenging to put things into perspective. V/Q perfusion mismatches were everywhere and cancer was something that kept cropping up every week. One of the subliminal messaging seemed to be “if you don’t suspect TB, you’ll miss it.”
  • Fluids, Electrolytes, Renal and Genitourinary (FERGU) block was the last block of the year, facing off against the kidney and bladder components, There was a lot of overlapping information from last term that served as a foundation. Being the last block before exams, this gave us less time to study for but also made the material freshest in our minds. In the exams, this worked out alright.
  • Clinical skills was an enjoyable class. While last term’s equivalent was all about history taking, this term focused more on physical exams. With our smaller class sizes in the distributed sites, our small groups were actually small: four compared to the eight in Vancouver, affording us more hands-on time each.
  • Family practice practicum lasted the whole term this year as opposed to the four visits we had last term. I recall the visits feeling a little long and drawn out last term but visiting each week seemed to take the edge off. I certainly learned much more in the clinic this term.
  • Of course, there was the healthy complement of histology labs, pathology labs and anatomy labs that rounded out each block.

As we settled into our northern program, class dynamics have changed somewhat. There have been new friendships made with people I did not really get an opportunity to bond with last term and new relationships in class. Class cohesion and morale remained high all term as we banded together for exercise classes, meditation, competitions and dinners. It really emphasized the benefits of a small class.

For brevity’s sake, I will not put up any more but I think this is a fairly accurate summary of this term. I can now call myself 1/4 MD; the journey to this point has been fun and exciting and we’re only just getting warmed up.

End of Year One

I came out of the OSCE relieved, relieved that the exams were finished and I could finally take a break away from school but I was simultaneously disappointed with myself. There were easy marks and easy things I missed on my exam that make me want to face palm in disappointment. It is important for me to understand though that this is not the end and that many opportunities will present themselves in the future to rectify them. I will have more practice, I will have more experience, and I will have more confidence in myself.

For now, I just need to accept the fact that part one of my journey is complete and new adventures await!