Sunday, June 28, 2009

Federal Student

Although I never really imagined having time to be employed anywhere as a medical student, I was happily surprised when the opportunity presented itself. This is the cadaver lab where we dissected cadavers and where I participate in the federal work-study program.

Federal Student Work

No longer a run-of-the-mill student, but a federally paid student, I reduce some of the hefty student loan I borrowed and learn at the same time. Nationally, students at more than 3,000 institutions are hired part-time to help in various operations and other positions. Almost two-thirds of the pay comes from federal funds geared towards students in financial need...for which most medical students qualify. The remaining third comes from the institution and all remuneration is tax free.

Once first year ended, I gained employment as a laboratory assistant in the bioskills and anatomy labs at Touro University-Nevada. Currently, the labs are home to 47 cadavers, the majority of which coworkers and I are preparing for the incoming DO class of 2013. Some are being prosected in preparation for allied health students within TUN's other colleges. I must admit that my job is probably one of the more unique federal student positions available.

In addition to earning a little extra among the cadavers, I will be able to brush up on anatomical landmarks and terms. This should bolster some of the already fading memories of structures once learned. Although impossible to work off my student loans in this position, if it helps when boards come around, I will be one step closer to graduating as a doctor. When that happens, no more federal student for me, instead my tax dollars will be feeding into the next generation of federally paid student employees.

Clinical Corner

Willed Body Program

The cadavers that are provided for students are obtained via willed body programs. A number of these programs exist around the country which are often associated with medical universities. An individual can specify that they would like their bodies to be used for the purpose of medical research by filing a donor form before dying. This gift to science has benefited the medical community in ways that the common public is not aware. In the university setting, these individuals are often considered a student's first patient.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Exercise

We've already had a few days with temperatures above 100 degrees and Summer is officially here. It's time to enjoy this summer vacation before school starts again.

Mental Exercise

With some free time on my hands and in an effort to avert the quickly growing student loans I currently have, I tried out for the game show Wheel of Fortune. As exciting as it would have been to tell everyone I won thousands and a vacation getaway, my Wheel experience ended in the second round of auditions. Phrase, only vowels remain... B_TT_R L_CK N_XT T_M_. Left without much money and a stubby pencil as a souvenir, I am grateful for the mental workout.

Physical Exercise

High on my list of priorities for this summer has been eating nutritionally and getting in shape. Exercising right is time consuming and physically demanding. With the right tools and knowledge, workouts can be fun and rewarding.

In my search for exercise tools I have come across a fantastic website that crawls the web for the best deals in online stores. They provide definitions and guides in choosing the right product that meets your needs without the bias of commercialized businesses. With filters to narrow your search, it could not be simpler to shop the internet.

I have been looking for heart rate monitors for a while now, because meeting or exceeding 60-90% of your maximum heart rate is a significant part of an effective workout. Using a heart rate monitor will provide instant feedback that helps determine your level of exercise intensity, a major component in physical training.

When exercise intensity is not elevated, pedometers serve well to be riding your waist. They help track steps taken throughout the day which correlates with overall daily activity. Using a pedometer can help you reach the recommended amount of 10,000 steps per day by taking the guesswork out of counting the steps yourself.

What better way to model your new electronic wear than with a new pair of trail running shoes. Whether your in the gym or on a nature hike, your feet are often the most important part of your training. Recommendations are to replace your old shoes every 300-500 miles to avoid injuries from lost shock absorption and uneven tread wear.

With luck and a lot of effort, by the time second year comes around I'll be a little healthier and more prepared to take on the new year as long as I keep moving.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Discount Medical Books

It's time again to purchase the next series of textbooks and supplies. Those that cannot be found at Google Books may just have to be purchased at a reasonable price elsewhere.

Book Discounts

Fortunately, some professors reuse texts from the first year cutting down on book costs significantly. If this is not the case, here are a few learned ideas that may come in handy:

  • Upperclassmen are often willing to sell used school books which would cut out the problem and expense of shipping and handling
  • The school library will usually have course texts available for loan at no expense to you
  • Deal Oz - Scouring more than 200 online stores, they find the best prices on the net, coupons and discounts apply to both new and used products...use it
Selling Used Books

If you are like most medical students, you are always looking for a little spending money, even if that means you just need to make up the difference in the cost for discounted books. It might be time for you to sell used textbooks. Honestly, most of them you will never use again and others will be outdated in no time. Rid your shelves of those that are taking up space while people still want them.

Despite the large variety of small textbook businesses, it may be wise to stick with the more common vendors; half, ebay, and amazon. If you would rather see your used textbooks go to good use, consider the incoming class, they will be looking for your great offers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Physician Continuing Medical Education

Just when I thought my shadowing experiences had finished I was given the opportunity to explore medicine in a very different way through the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada.

Surgical Training

Currently, MERIN is the largest bio-skills lab in the Western United States and boasts their unique second floor observation area. Major medical companies converge on this site to host physicians from around the world for seminars and research on the latest in surgical techniques and procedures.

This well developed facility is housed under the Touro University Nevada roof, yet remains independent of the school. Willing medical students can spend a day rubbing shoulders with physicians as they learn or relearn critical medical treatments. With cadavers as patients, radiographic imaging when necessary, and the semblance of a sterile environment, the experience is the next best thing to performing the actual procedure on living subjects.

Their most recent clinic focused on pain management devices with guest lecturer Dr. James Chao from UCSD. (The subject matter was rather fitting as I recently finished shadowing a local anesthesiologist/pain management physician.) MERIN clinics host knee, shoulder, and hip surgical training to name a few. The two students in attendance moved among the stations with the doctors, networking and learning along with everyone else.

It is one of the few times, recently, that suggests the educational loans we students incur are going to be worth the pain. Although pain management may not be my specialty of choice, this experience certainly opened my eyes to the ongoing effort by physicians to maintain optimal performance and patient care through physician continuing medical education.

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