Sunday, September 27, 2009

Medical Training

We are slowly making progress through the body systems and their related pathologies. Fortunately, the curriculum is set up to permit a significant overlap in material so that most courses are reinforcing concepts of an important nature. This repetitive exposure has been helpful to build working knowledge of how differing subjects can contribute to a comprehensive understanding.

Medical Program

All of our courses, during the second year, relate in some way to the health of the human organism. The learning process at Touro Nevada has been made simpler by combining topics from the multiple courses to coincide with one another to some degree. For example, this week in Pharmacology we covered Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). At the same time in the Clinical Systems course we learned about various rheumatologic diseases that employ the use of NSAIDs to treat symptoms. Additionally, the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine staff presented lymphatic treatments that could be used to aid in the recovery process.

The combined efforts of each course is to develop a well-rounded understanding of the approach to various body systems. So while studying for one class, I am equally reviewing material for another. The pieces of this "human puzzle" come together quite nicely to paint the whole picture.

Board Prep Question of the Week

A 40 year old female presents to her physician for worsening joint pain. She has had joint pain for many years in both wrists, MCP joints, and PIP joints. Her DIPs are spared. Her pain is always worse in the morning and improves as the day goes on. Lately she realizes both knees also hurt her and she is more tired than usual. Examination reveals her painful joints to be mildly warm and her PIPs are flexed, while her DIPs are extended. Laboratory testing reveals high titers of rheumatoid factor (RF), an elevated ESR and C-reactive protein, and a normocytic normochromatic anemia. Examination of the synovial fluid at the involved joints would most likely reveal which of the following?

A. Clear fluid; 125 WBC/mm3; 20% PMNs
B. Clear-yellow fluid; 1,800 WBC/mm3; 20% PMNs
C. Cloudy-yellow fluid; 6,000 WBC/mm3; 60% PMNs
D. Turbid, purulent fluid; 50,000 WBC/mm3; 80% PMNs
E. Reddish fluid; 1,500 WBC/mm3; 20% PMNs
Answer & Explanation

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wireless Mobile Phones

As technology advances, similar improvements can be seen in the medical field. The possibility of having communication devices at our fingertips has changed our approach to simple tasks. With smartphones now available in all shapes and sizes, technology continues to maintain its "coolness" with the added bonus of simplified communication.

Smartphones

Knowing full well that in less than a year I will be working in the clinics and hospitals among physicians and patients, I wanted to ensure that I had one of the most helpful tools in my pocket. Where a Personal Digital Assistant or book may have useful applications they still lacks in communication. The smartphones, on the other hand, are all encompassing with everything from internet and wireless communication to user friendly applications that make life easier.

Within the last few years the smartphone market has become increasingly saturated with new brands and models to meet diverse personal needs. In my recent hunt for the right phone I was able to narrow my search with the help of Top Ten Reviews. With so many options, it was helpful to have one place with customer reviews and technological differences.

In the end I chose to purchase Apple's iPhone for a number of reasons. A large portion of the purchase cost ($400 to be exact) is covered by AT&T making the initial out-of-pocket cost more affordable. To my surprise, the technology is rather easy to use and navigate, even for a beginner. With an expanding collection of applications, the iPhone has a versatile array of uses for many settings including the medical field, which was a critical deciding factor in my case. Although it may be a little more expensive than some of its counterparts, I felt the iPhone was the best fit for my particular medical student needs and will be an indispensable tool in my professional aspirations.

AT&T Gift Card

I have also recently learned that with a new AT&T account you can receive a $25 dollar gift card when referred by an existing user. That said, if you are planning to switch to AT&T or have recently joined AT&T, leave a comment on this post to that effect and I will provide you with the information needed to get your $25. Just be sure to leave your name and a means to contact you. Consider it your bonus for getting to the end of this post!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Decompressing

Block week certainly took its tole on me. Little sleep, difficult exams, and copious amounts of information culminated in a rather challenging week.


Overload

Coming into medical school, I knew the curriculum would be a feat to overcome. The change from undergraduate training to graduate level was no piece of pie, but I learned to cope and make the most of the situation rather quickly. The change from first to second year, however, was a curve ball I was not expecting. From the beginning of this year, we have been running at a sprint just to keep pace. Block week was no different.

I thought by studying in greater detail, for longer hours, from numerous sources that this year's courses would be surmountable. Unfortunately, there was little relationship between the amount of study and the resulting grades, which means I have to review the way I study. I felt that I already made a change for the better this time around, but it is apparent that I review my approach.

Needless to say, this weekend has been a much needed recovery. Catching up on sleep, missed errands and emails has been a great break in the action. It sure is a good thing I like the medicine.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Second Exam Week One

Let the fun begin. Although it seems like we've just begun the year, block weeks are here. That equates to a lot of late nights, little sleep, and excessive stress.

Student Syndrome

Fortunately, by this time we have been "around the block" a number of times and we are starting to feel comfortable with the flow. The sense of shock that was once there is more of a nagging feeling to get back in the books and make the most of our time. With one week to show what we have gained over the past month, why not drive hard?

Now the exams are not necessarily "old hat" just yet. In addition to revisiting the grueling routine again, we still have a lot of new subject material. Where there is one normal physiological function for everything, there are multiple pathological occurrences. That adds up really quick, leaving a substantial amount of material to cover.

The school has become my second home...for better or worse. The two most appreciated feelings are 1. Doing well on an exam and 2. Jumping into bed at the end of the night. Did I mention how much I love medical school?

Clinical Corner

Student Syndrome

This refers to the art, skill or habit of procrastination commonly employed by students to hold off their most important tasks to the last minute or wish there was more time to complete their work. Although I would like to say I do not actually have this syndrome, I am of the opinion that if you are a student, you likely exhibit it to some degree. Avoid cramming and use your time efficiently, even if it is at the last minute.

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