Physician & Medical Era | OT |: A lounge for students, MDs, DOs, PharmDs, RNs, et. al.

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
Hello and welcome! This is a gathering place for any and all in the medical field. In a previous incarnation, the thread was limited to physicians however with a new Era, we want to invite any and all from the medical field to post experiences, gripes, advice and so forth in this thread!

PLEASE NOTE: This thread is NOT for the solicitation of medical advice. We will say the same thing if you were to post a new thread about that "thing growing on (your) arm." Make an appointment for a doctor to get a history, lay eyes on the problem and do an examination.

With that being said, I'll reintroduce myself. Hi. Practicing physician in Neurology and Sleep Medicine.
 

Nothing Loud

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,396
I'm done beating around the bush. I've been working for two years as a chemical engineer and I'm tired of it. I've always wanted to pursue medicine, so now I'm going to do it.

Gonna lurk SDN for MCAT study guides.
 

Neolith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
61
Great, was waiting for this thread to pop up. Current M2 here (US). Any tips for an aspiring pathologist and Step 1 prep?
 
OP
OP
IAMtheFMan

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
Gonna lurk SDN for MCAT study guides.
Take what posters on SDN say with a lot of grains of salt. There’s a ton of super anxious premeds on there.

Great, was waiting for this thread to pop up. Current M2 here (US). Any tips for an aspiring pathologist and Step 1 prep?
I’m probably not the best person to ask since I’m more than 10 yrs out from Step 1, but the biggest thing I’d say is if you’re not a morning person, make sure you get a pattern down a week or two before the exam. I know people that didn’t and that plus the anxiety of the exam meant they got like 1-2 hrs of sleep.

Also don’t study hardcore the day before the exam. Rest up, relax, go in fresh.
 

Nothing Loud

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,396
IAMtheFMan what is being a neurologist like? I had to see one this year and it was very difficult. There are not many in my area and they are booked for months in advance. What is your lifestyle like?
 

Rainy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,625
Great, was waiting for this thread to pop up. Current M2 here (US). Any tips for an aspiring pathologist and Step 1 prep?
As someone who just took it this past May, I have a few suggestions. I would buy uWorld well in advance. Maybe start doing a question set a week a few months before dedicated, just to get yourself in the right mindset for the test. Pick what study resources you're going to use, and make a good schedule out of it, do not try to wing it. It will bite you in the ass big time. Be sure to always take breaks for a little bit everyday during dedicated. Whether it's to chill an watch TV for a bit, or just to workout, let yourself destress. I also usually took one "rest day" per week, except for the last few weeks of dedicated. Also be sure to at least take 3-4 NBMEs before the actual exam. Beware as the curves for a lot of the practice NBMEs have been wild recently, especially in the last year.

My last piece of advice is probably the most important. In the last week or two before the test you'll probably start panicking and feeling like you aren't ready. You are, if you put in the time and work, put those worries behind you. Good luck!

By the way I'm a third year U.S. medical student in Philadelphia. I'm halfway through my third year. Just finished my Family Medicine rotation. Have already done Psychiatry, OB/GYN, and Pediatrics. Neurology up next!
 

DrMario

Member
Oct 27, 2017
232
Hi!

I specialize in eradicating viruses when I’m not busy saving the princess, driving karts, and playing tennis. I like to throw extravagant board game parties, and I’ve even gone to the Olympics a few times!


In all seriousness though, I’m a pediatric hospitalist about 3 years out of residency. It’s much better on this side of things lol.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
IAMtheFMan

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
IAMtheFMan what is being a neurologist like? I had to see one this year and it was very difficult. There are not many in my area and they are booked for months in advance. What is your lifestyle like?
I mean, I dig it. :). It’s a field where if you like thinking about processes almost like a puzzle, it’s a great field.

I was previously doing general neurology with some sleep medicine but changed my focus to primarily sleep medicine. In general lifestyle varies greatly; you can be a 9-5 outpatient neurologist if you want though will probably end up having to do some inpatient work and consults as well. Stroke is going towards a very specialized field of neurology (since intervention is quickly becoming standard of care) so if you want to be a stroke interventionalist there’s that path. Even still a lot of places don’t necessarily have resources so community neurologists are still doing stroke care etc. There’s also tons of sub specialties such as Sleep, epilepsy, neuromuscular, neurointensivist, movement disorders, etc.

So basically lifestyle varies depending on what you want to do.

In all seriousness though, I’m a pediatric hospitalist about 3 years out of residency. It’s much better on this side of things lol.
I know right lol.
 

iCham

Member
Oct 27, 2017
907
Hey there. Actually last year of med school (9th year), just need to present my thesis in order to get my PhD.

if only I had a subject T_T
 

iCham

Member
Oct 27, 2017
907
9th year? Where do you study?
France, system is different from the US.
You have an entrance exam at the end of the first year where only a certain number of people can be accepted. You can only try twice.
First cycle is the first two years.
Second cycle is the four following years ("Externat" or intern) where you begin to work as a slave medical student at the hospital.
At the end of the second cycle you have another exam where you choose your specialty of exercise depending on your rank. You may only try once (or twice if you're lucky).
Third cycle is the "Internat" (resident) and can last three to five years depending on what you do. You're now a slightly more efficient slave resident working at various hospitals and have to present a thesis.
 
Wow, I always thought that Germany had the longest med school with 6.5 years.
But it's actually pretty similar: First two years are preclinical with chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, BC etc. The following four and a half years are the clinical part with all other subjects like surgery, urology, neuro etc. After the third state exam you are pretty much free to choose whatever speciality you want. You work as a resident for 4-6 years and then you're specialist or senior physician.
 

iCham

Member
Oct 27, 2017
907
Ah it's pretty similar then (about ten years) it's just that as residents we still have some classes about our speciality and we are encouraged to get some additional diplomas

It's cool that you can choose your speciality rather than it be decided by a rank, but I've read an article about med school in Europe and your system looks a little complicated, doesn't it ?
 
In Germany we have a thing called Hochschulstart. You register there. 20% of med students are able to enter university via grades they got in their matriculation examination. 60% are able to enter via a mix of grades and tests. 20% are allowed to enter via waiting time, meaning that if you wait for a long time, you'll be able to enter no matter what your grades were.
You are allowed to register or take most tests as often as you want. And even if you don't succeed there you are allowed to enter after waiting for like 6-7 years.

After you finished university you are allowed to do any speciality you want. You just apply at a hospital that wants you and that's it. Most hospitals and most specialities are looking for young docs, so we don't worry about getting our dream job.
 

iCham

Member
Oct 27, 2017
907
In Germany we have a thing called Hochschulstart. You register there. 20% of med students are able to enter university via grades they got in their matriculation examination. 60% are able to enter via a mix of grades and tests. 20% are allowed to enter via waiting time, meaning that if you wait for a long time, you'll be able to enter no matter what your grades were.
You are allowed to register or take most tests as often as you want. And even if you don't succeed there you are allowed to enter after waiting for like 6-7 years.

After you finished university you are allowed to do any speciality you want. You just apply at a hospital that wants you and that's it. Most hospitals and most specialities are looking for young docs, so we don't worry about getting our dream job.
That sounds like the Swiss system then.

I didn't get the rank I was aiming for so instead of the specialty I wanted to do I settled for GP but now 2 years after I'm perfectly happy with that choice
 
Oct 27, 2017
716
NJ represent! Got my MCATs score back a few weeks ago, and am satisfied! Need to start prepping for my gap year stuff and applying to schools next year, but I'm aiming to make the most of my senior year here in the meantime.
 

Neolith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
61
IAMtheFMan Rainy Thanks for the solid advice to you both.

Rainy i’m also at one of the Philly schools, small world huh?

I think I remember seeing someone being a path resident around here. Does anyone know who it is? I’d love to poke their brain a bit.
 

Nothing Loud

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,396
I'm having a lot of trouble studying for the MCAT while working a full time engineering job and dealing with a shit ton of family issues. I guess I just have to eat the elephant one spoon at a time. At this rate it will take me at least 9 months.
 
OP
OP
IAMtheFMan

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
I've been in between jobs and been doing some Locums work. It's interesting to say the least. If anyone's interested in my experience with it, I can go into more detail.
 

SilentSoldier

Member
Oct 27, 2017
278
Wondering when this thread was going to show up. MS4 here just finishing up residency interviews and now struggling to make my rank list.
 

Neolith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
61
Does anyone have a study schedule for step 1 they’d be willing to share or endorse? My dedicated period is 4 weeks but I plan on passing through first aid and pathoma at least once before then.
 

SnowFlakeCake

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
516
Finished dentistry a few years now but it was so fucking boring, money is great but wanted something more. Just started the Maxfax programme and had my January exams, if dentistry was boring then medicine is straight dogshit. It will all be worth it at the end because maxillofacial is something I've thought hard and long about for some time, but the current motivation is not there to get it done. It's all in university at the moment, will be fucking off onto wards soon enough but lot's of lectures to get through and chilling with 2nd/3rd year medical students that are so enthusiastic.

It will all be worth it I tell myself, being a 26 year old out of work though does not feel very good especially with family pressures, but you only live the once and might as well do something you enjoy! Thankfully I bypass a lot of shit the undergrad med students have to go through thanks to the dentistry, straight route to make me a maxfax surgeon which is really good. The core surgical training posts are okay but specialising seems very competitive, me being able to get past all that is something I am very thankful for. But it's not going to be 4 years for me and done, there is still more training to do after that. :/

How do you lot keep yourselves motivated though? It's a questions I don't want to be asking at university for obvious reasons but yeah, it's a huge struggle at the moment forcing myself to that university and wards will be dealing with all kinds, seen enough of that shit in dentistry to know it's gonna be a hassle.
 
OP
OP
IAMtheFMan

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
I'm applying in for school in June and I'm interested in what kind of travel opportunities locums provide.
Sure.

Basically, for others that may not know, working locum tenens (latin for placeholder) is basically temp work. This could be because of slow recruitment for permanent positions, leaves of absence from staff, vacation, etc. I can only speak on my experience in the U.S, but it was a good fit for me over these last few months as I left one job before starting a new one (which I'm starting this Spring). I was actually expecting to start last year in November/December, but this got pushed back for logistical reasons, which I won't get into. I stopped working at my old job in October so I could have a month off with my then 3 month old, but seeing as how I needed to fill in the gaps until Spring, I sought out some Locums positions.

The way it works is that a hospital realizes there's a need or lack of coverage for whatever specialty; this can be anything from outpatient clinic work to inpatient coverage/call/surgical coverage. They then tend to put out their ad to the Locums companies. If you're in residency or practice, you're probably already familiar with their recruiters; they will call/email/stalk you and you can get cold calls from multiple different agencies. These agencies work as middle-men that then try to find docs for temporarily placements with their specific dates. There's dozens of these companies out there as well, although the jobs they offer do tend to overlap. While there are now services to take out the middle-management step of the Locums companies, I'm not sure how that works as the companies provide transportation, arrangements, and probably most importantly, malpractice/tail coverage.

I think it's been an interesting experience. I've done a couple stints, and have a few more coming up. Things that I like:
- The temporary coverage means you can largely go in and do your thing with the hospital's understanding that you're there solely for coverage. No getting caught up in the hospital, etc.
- You can see how other hospitals operate which is refreshing.
- Get to travel to some different places; a lot of the places that are looking for coverage are in remote areas which I think is interesting to discover
- As above, the Locums company covers airfare/car/gas, state licensures, housing, and malpractice and tail insurance.
- It allowed me to be fluid and make some money while I was in a period of transition. I've met other Locums physicians that were doing it just to figure out what they wanted to do next (one guy that was in the Peace Corps that got disillusioned with international medicine in some 3rd world countries).
- The pay is really strong. In about a 1-2 week period, I made what I was making in a month at my old job.
- You can go at your own pace; if you want to kill it for 4-6 weeks, you can do that. If you want to do a week here and there, you'll likely find a placement.

That being said, it's not all rosy. The negatives:
- Probably the biggest is that you tend to be really busy. As you can imagine, coming in as a sub means that many of these places are strapped as it is. I could see me getting burned out if I were doing this for a long time.
- Some places may not have a ton of resources. I went to a place that literally had no MRI (which makes a lot of Neurology kinda difficult).
- You have to start over with each new place. Not only the physical space, but the records, EMR, orders, paging system, etc. Even the cultures in the specific placements can get some getting used to.
- Asking specific questions to the locums recruiters is difficult, since they really aren't in medicine; by the time you get your answer, the position may have been filled.
- Also, the positions do tend to get filled pretty quick so you have to commit pretty quickly and early.
- All the negative that come with being at a place only for a short period of time; no patient follow up, etc.
- The pay is good, but all the stuff that potentially comes with other jobs (benefits, retirement, etc) isn't included at all.
- The paperwork can be a lot. I used two different companies, and I really should've stuck with one; not only that but my references need to fill out not only forms for the company, but each individual hospital I was going to be placed at. I felt really bad having them do all that work.
- The quality of other Locums doctors does tend to be somewhat hit or miss. One signout I got, I needed to basically start from scratch on a bunch of patients.

For me, it's been a good experience. I have a total of 3 more weeks I think before my new job in the Spring, and I think that'll be good enough for me, at least for the forseeable future. One thing is that I do miss my family; I wish I could've done this when I was single as I probably would've done this for a year or so, and just traveled to different hospitals. All in all, if you want to kinda travel around, don't want a commitment to one particular place/location, are between jobs (like myself) or are trying to figure things out, it's a pretty good option.
 

SilentSoldier

Member
Oct 27, 2017
278
Officially matched today! Now all that's left is to find out where. Congrats to all the other US med students on ERA that matched today!
 

Slack Attack

Member
Oct 28, 2017
260
Matched into anesthesiology at my top pick on Friday! After a weekend of celebration, I am now counting down the days with dread until June 15th.
 

iCham

Member
Oct 27, 2017
907
Now working in Gynaecology. It's an...interesting world.


There's 7 months left until the end of my residency and still no thesis subject in mind...
 

Rainy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,625
Have my Internal Medicine shelf tomorrow and then I'm officially an M4. They're giving us a 3 week break before 4th year starts but I'm using most of it to study for Step 2 CK. I think having Medicine beforehand helped, since a lot of the test is medicine. Really need to review Peds/OB/Psych pretty well in the next few weeks. And reset UWorld, hopefully I'll be fine.
 

Slack Attack

Member
Oct 28, 2017
260
Have my Internal Medicine shelf tomorrow and then I'm officially an M4. They're giving us a 3 week break before 4th year starts but I'm using most of it to study for Step 2 CK. I think having Medicine beforehand helped, since a lot of the test is medicine. Really need to review Peds/OB/Psych pretty well in the next few weeks. And reset UWorld, hopefully I'll be fine.
You’ll be fine. Just get through as much of uworld as you can before the test. I did literally nothing but uworld and scored better than my equivalent on Step 1 (and above average).
 

SilentSoldier

Member
Oct 27, 2017
278
Have my Internal Medicine shelf tomorrow and then I'm officially an M4. They're giving us a 3 week break before 4th year starts but I'm using most of it to study for Step 2 CK. I think having Medicine beforehand helped, since a lot of the test is medicine. Really need to review Peds/OB/Psych pretty well in the next few weeks. And reset UWorld, hopefully I'll be fine.
I feel like Step 2 CK was much easier to prepare for than Step 1. I don't know if it was the material or the fact that I approached studying way differently. I didn't stress myself out with 12+ hour study days like I did with Step 1 (sometimes forgetting to eat, shower, etc. It was awful). Gave myself hard cutoff times, made sure I ate, got some exercise in, etc. Ended up doing way better on it too. Whatever you didn't like about studying for step 1, don't repeat it for step 2.
 
OP
OP
IAMtheFMan

IAMtheFMan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
422
Chicago
I feel like Step 2 CK was much easier to prepare for than Step 1. I don't know if it was the material or the fact that I approached studying way differently. I didn't stress myself out with 12+ hour study days like I did with Step 1 (sometimes forgetting to eat, shower, etc. It was awful). Gave myself hard cutoff times, made sure I ate, got some exercise in, etc. Ended up doing way better on it too. Whatever you didn't like about studying for step 1, don't repeat it for step 2.
Step 1: 2 months
Step 2: 2 weeks
Step 3: 2 pencils

I guess the old adage doesn’t work in the computerized age but still.
 

Slack Attack

Member
Oct 28, 2017
260
Belated congrats! I remember you posting on GAF 2 years ago when we were both studying for Step 1 about your panic leading up to the test. I definitely commiserated with your experience as my school only gave us 4 WEEKS to study for it! Very cool that you're going into surgery. Maybe I'll have the opportunity to put our patient into Trendelenburg for you in the future.