Becoming a Physician

Scholarship recipients share their experiences as UF medical students
13
May


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The end

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These last few weeks of school have flown by. There is not much left to say now, with things drawing to a close. We are in our last week of Internship 101, which has been a good review of the important things we need to know for our first year as doctors. There is really only one thing left to do at this point, and that is to graduate. Our graduation will take place this Saturday, and then the next chapter of our lives will begin. I am excited to soon be able to work at the hospital as a physician, taking care of patients as well as teaching students.

As I am nearing the end of my time as a medical student and this blog is at its end, I would like to take some time to thank everyone who has helped me and made all of this possible. First, I would like to thank the Office of Alumni Affairs at the University of Florida for coming up with the idea of a student blog, as well as editing and maintaining it. Contributing to the blog has been one of my proudest achievements throughout medical school, and I am happy to have something to look back on. I would also like to thank all of those who have donated to the University of Florida, and the generous benefactors of the Florida Medical Opportunity Scholarship; all of your support makes a big difference in creating, training and inspiring the physicians of tomorrow. I am especially grateful for all of the positive support I have received during my years as a UF medical student. I would also like to thank the faculty at the UF College of Medicine, as they are all shining examples of the kind of doctor that every medical student should strive to become: intelligent, compassionate, caring, proactive, curious and with limitless amounts of enthusiasm and respect for a career of lifelong learning, teaching and healing.

I would also like to take the time to thank Mrs. Karen Dooley and Ms. Styliana Resvanis, my editors for the student blog. They have always been very supportive and have been wonderful to work with.

Finally, I would like to thank the readers of this blog for following me all of this time; I hope it has been entertaining and informative, and as fun for you to read as it has been for me to write. It is just one of many stories from the Class of 2015, and I sincerely hope that this tradition continues in the future. Thank you.

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6
May


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Thank you, University of Florida College of Medicine

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I am very thankful to the UF COM family —all of the faculty and staff I have worked with over the years during this journey through medical school. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Heather Harrell for her physical exam expertise, creative interactive case-based teaching sessions and for helping me see my passion for internal medicine. Secondly, I would like to thank Dr. David Feller, who helped develop my passion for primary care and preventative medicine as well as always reminding me to stay whole in medicine by continuing my extracurricular activities. I would also like to show appreciation to the faculty and staff of the Office for Diversity and Health Equity and the office for Student Counseling and Development for their support over the past four years.

For the past four years, I have been fortunate enough to serve as the Dr. Cullen Banks Scholar, named in honor of the first black physician with full privileges at Alachua General Hospital. The work ethic and dedication Dr. Banks showed to his patients is something I will draw inspiration from and use as fuel to provide the highest quality of care to the people in my new community. I would like to give many thanks to Mrs. Banks and the rest of the Banks family for taking me in and looking after me as one of their own during my time here in Gainesville.

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28
Apr


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Cruising to the finish line

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I recently completed my last clinical rotation of fourth year and I spent it on the Mobile Outreach Clinic (MOC) Bus. The goal of the MOC is to travel to underserved communities of Gainesville to provide basic medical care. This experience was a great way to end fourth year because I got to spend weeks helping the people I came to medical school to serve. Each day I was able to learn from and work with like-minded physicians and physician assistants, which made each day so enjoyable.

Additionally, I was paired with an undergraduate student interested in the health field and got to teach them about important questions to ask for certain patient chief complaints and point out interesting physical exam findings. I found this to be great preparation for residency because in just a few short months I will be paired with a third- or fourth-year medical student and will be asked to teach them about patients we see together. Overall, I think it was an awesome rotation and I hope to find time to do similar work in residency when I have free time.

A little thing called Match Day happened last month, and I was fortunate enough to match at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) for an internal medicine residency position. I recently learned a fun fact about UTSW: The physician who invented Gatorade, a UF staple, went to UTSW for his medical training before coming to UF to invent the tasty sports beverage. So even in Texas, I will still shout GO GATORS!

Overall our class did really well, with two-thirds of people matching into residency positions associated with top 50 medical schools (including UF!). Check out this link for a UF College of Medicine Match Day video recap. I am excited about my move to Dallas, Texas, to start residency, but it will be a bittersweet day as my classmates and I go our separate ways.

It is hard to believe in just three short weeks I will walk across the stage to become Lauren Simmons, M.D. But first up: Internship 101!

Lauren enjoys some rare recreational time with classmates and friends in the last part of fourth year. Upon graduation, she will head to the University of Texas Southwestern to complete her residency in internal medicine.

Lauren enjoys some rare recreational time with classmates and friends in the last part of fourth year. Upon graduation, she will head to the University of Texas Southwestern to complete her residency in internal medicine.

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28
Apr


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The last weeks of school

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This past month has been fairly quiet, which is a good thing. Having finished all of my required rotations, I decided to spend some time exploring some electives I thought would be useful for my future career. I spent the first two weeks of April with the radiology team in Jacksonville, where I learned how to better read ultrasounds, CTs and MRIs. I have always found radiology very interesting because you get the opportunity to actually see what’s going on inside the patient: a kidney stone on a non-contrast CT, a deep vein thrombosis on an ultrasound or large uterine fibroids on an MRI. All of these extraordinary things are made visible to us, quickly and with relatively little discomfort for the patient. It really makes you appreciate the day and age we live in.

The rooms where the radiologists work are spacious but very dark, with just enough lighting to keep you from bumping into things while walking around. It reminded me of being in a movie theater. And indeed it was pretty quiet in there, as the radiologists all dictated their notes into microphones using soft, low voices. But as relaxed as the environment seemed, I learned that being a radiologist is very challenging. You need to possess a very keen eye and a talent for description. Radiologists are always vigilant for emergent and critical findings, making sure no organs or spaces go unmissed, and they relate their findings in such a concise and elegant way that you can picture exactly what they are talking about without having to look at the images yourself. I was not nearly as good as they were at picking up abnormalities, so they took the time to teach me their approaches to looking through an imaging study, as well as some tricks on how to identify certain important structures in the body. By the end of the first week, I felt much more confident and comfortable with reading imaging studies.

For the second week of radiology, I worked with the mammography team in the outpatient clinic. This was probably my favorite part of the rotation, as knowing about breast cancer screening, its signs and symptoms and how it is treated is a very important part of being an ob/gyn. I spent a lot of time with the radiologists there, looking at screening and diagnostic mammograms. The images are viewed on special high-resolution monitors that are specifically approved for interpreting mammograms. I learned how to classify breast tissue density, identify normal and abnormal lymph nodes, distinguish calcification patterns and identify and describe abnormal-appearing densities. I also learned about the other tools we have to better characterize suspicious lesions, like magnification, spot compression, tomosynthesis and ultrasound. In addition to reading mammograms, we also performed stereotactic biopsies and radioactive seed implants. Overall, I was very grateful for the chance to work with the mammography team, as I now know much more about what breast cancer screening entails and how the process works, which will help me better counsel my patients on what they can expect when it comes time for them to start their screening.

After radiology, I did a two-week online course in clinical nutrition. It was very informative and I learned a lot. It made me pay closer attention to just how important food intake and exercise habits are to a person’s overall health, and I was able to learn about good nutrition resources to talk to patients with for topics like weight loss, special diets and food allergies and food sensitivities. During that time I was also getting ready for intern year, filling out paperwork and making sure all my records were in order. I expect that many of my classmates are doing the same, on top of other things like looking for apartments to rent and learning more about their residency programs.

Over the next three weeks, however, all of us will be returning to the classroom to participate in our “Internship 101” course, where we will get an orientation on what to expect during the first year of our residencies. Many of the lectures will cover the most common topics, like how to select antibiotics or how to manage common urgent conditions. But there are other important things that we weren’t necessarily taught during medical school, like how to manage our personal finances or how to prepare a formal lecture presentation.

I am very much looking forward to learning about what to expect during intern year, and it will be nice to see all of my classmates again. With less than a month until graduation, I am sure everyone will be very excited!

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31
Mar


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Nearing the finish line

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In a little under two months, my four-year journey through medical school will be over. This last leg of the marathon was by no means smooth, however. You would think I would get used to how hectic and unexpected things can be, but life always has a way of surprising you.

As it turns out, I won’t be going into obstetrics and gynecology just yet. Instead, I am happy to say I am going to be working at UF for another year with the division of internal medicine. While I was disappointed at not being able to go into obstetrics and gynecology the way I wanted to, I am very excited about training with the internists at UF after graduation. I am certain I will learn many new things and have an excellent start to becoming a great doctor while under the guidance of the dedicated staff and faculty here. I’ve learned there are many ways of making your own career in medicine, and I will use this time to work hard, improve myself and do the best I can for my patients.

During these past two months, I finished two of our required fourth-year rotations: anesthesiology and emergency medicine. My time with the anesthesiology team was very educational, and I was able to get a better grasp on how we put patients under and ensure that they are safe while we operate on them. Having been through my general surgery rotation and in other surgical specialties, I had previously only seen what it was like to be on the surgeon’s side of things. But after working on the other side of the curtain, I was able to get a more complete picture of how things work in the operating room. Before starting the rotation, I had already known there would be much more to anesthesia than just putting patients to sleep and watching their vital signs. After finishing the rotation, I had a better appreciation of just how complex their jobs are.

Anesthesiologists are the experts in preparation and vigilance. They leave nothing to chance and always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Their job starts well before the surgery begins and does not end until well after the patient is awake. It is up to them to determine: how best to position the patient before surgery, what paralytic and induction agents to use, intubating the patient, determine what kind of ventilator settings to use once they’re intubated, what fluids to give and when, what medications to give and when, monitor the vitals and breathing, watch out for side effects of medications, keep in mind the timing of when they need the anesthesia to wear off, extubating the patient and controlling post-operative pain and nausea. In addition to all of that, they have to chart when they did each of these things during surgery. It’s easy to get side-tracked, and I was impressed by how well the residents and nurse anesthetists fielded all of the interruptions and unexpected demands they came across. As for myself, I was able to learn how to mask ventilate patients, intubate them, prepare medications and help in any other capacity that I could. In fact, I did those things so often that one night I even had a dream that I was mask ventilating myself! Overall, it was a very worthwhile experience.

Emergency medicine was a rotation I was very much looking forward to. I had previously worked in the emergency room on some occasions, like seeing consults as part of a different hospital team or working for a week in the pediatric ER as part of my pediatrics rotation. From my prior experiences, the ER is a busy place where a lot of important medicine happens. There are patients who present for all kinds of issues, from specific complaints that have a known origin, to more vague complaints that could have a wide variety of causes and must be worked up extensively. The ER does not turn anyone away, and its main goal is to rule out and treat any conditions that are life-threatening. As part of the team, I spent four weeks working in shifts that occurred throughout the day, in both the adult and pediatric emergency rooms.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of emergency medicine is the variety of cases that can walk in at any time. Inside of one eight-hour shift, I could see patients with: chest pain, a strange rash, a scalp laceration, eye pain and patients brought in from various traumas. The trauma patients were the ones who left the deepest impressions. There were cases we saw of severe burns, car accidents and gunshot wounds that were all so intense to be a part of. It was amazing to see just how well the ER team worked together to stabilize the patient. It was like watching clockwork, the way each person knew what they were doing; whether it was doing chest compressions, getting IV access, intubating the patient, performing an ultrasound, making notes on the timing of the drugs we administered or charging the defibrillator for when we needed it. Sometimes the patients did well, and sometimes they did not. But as urgent and scary as the situations were, there was always a sense of calm and purpose in the trauma bay, which is exactly where it is needed the most.

My favorite part of being in the emergency room was the fact that I was able to walk back into my patients’ rooms and talk to them while we were waiting for a test to be done or for an inpatient hospital bed to open up. Sometimes all of that waiting can be anxiety-provoking, so I would try to interact with my patients as much as I could. There are very interesting people who come to the ER, each with their own stories and backgrounds. Oftentimes the patients were accompanied by their family members, and I was able to get to know a lot of people. We talked about anything that came up: jobs, traveling, what was on the television. But my favorite part of talking to them was the fact that I was able to keep them up to date on what was going on, what our plan was, and answering any questions they had. They were very appreciative of the time I spent with them, and it reminded me of why I decided to go into medicine in the first place.

At the time, I was still sad about not being able to go into obstetrics and gynecology next year, but I realized that as long as I have the opportunity to continue taking care of people, I would still truly be happy. From my experiences these past two months, I’ve learned that changes can occur when you least expect them. But as long as you don’t lose sight of your purpose, things will have a way of working out.

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17
Feb


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My month with the dermatology team

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I have spent the last four weeks staring at people’s skin — with their permission, of course. I have been working with the Dermatology team at UF, and it has been an eye-opening experience. The skin is such an interesting organ; everyone has it and there are so many different shades, quirks and curiosities you can find with it. You can tell if someone’s spent a lot of time in the sun, if they work a lot with their hands and what kind of accidents and surgeries they might have been through. It can be an indicator, not just of how well you appear on the outside, but also if there might be something going on inside your body. Because of how versatile and interesting skin is, I decided that rotating with the Dermatology team would be worthwhile. At the very least, I could develop the skill of identifying and naming lesions on the people I meet, which will hopefully make me popular at parties.

The dermatologists at UF are all very nice and friendly people. They are very intelligent, and all of them seem to have perfect skin themselves. I don’t think it’s one of the requirements to be a dermatologist, but it certainly can’t hurt. Each of them would also make for excellent detectives. The interesting thing about dermatology is that a lot of lesions and rashes can look similar, and it takes a lot of thinking to figure out what’s really going on. Bumps and rashes can change appearance over time, go to different places on the body, and do different things. It also depends on how old they are and if a patient has put something on them or scratched at them, so there can be two or even three different things going on in just one skin finding, and it’s up to the dermatologists to sort all of that out.

It’s amazing to see them at work and watch how they come to their conclusions. I remember one patient who had a rash on her abdomen and the right side of her face, which was a very strange distribution for a rash. After asking some questions, the doctor was fairly certain that the patient had a contact allergy, likely to nickel from a metal belt buckle that she usually wore. As for her face, the doctor asked if she played any sports that required her to wear a helmet, recently changed her pillowcase or face wash, and other questions he could think of. Eventually, he figured out that her cellphone had a metal case that she would rest against the right side of her face whenever she talked on the phone, and that was exactly where the rash was. It was very impressive to witness, and the kind of thing you would expect to hear in a Sherlock Holmes story. It’s funny how everything is revealed in the skin, right in plain sight, but it takes a lot of effort and experience to unravel what is going on.

As for myself, I started out learning all of the common things that appear on patients. There are a lot of ordinary things that you often see people walking around with, like: seborrheic keratoses, skin tags, eczema, warts, solar lentigos, acne and cherry angiomas, all of which are not worrisome. While other things like: drug rashes, actinic keratoses, squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas and pigmented lesions suspicious for melanoma require caution and treatment. I’ve also seen conditions like: psoriasis, rosacea, vitiligo, lupus and mycosis fungoides, which many people have heard about but may or may not have seen. It amazes me to see the kinds of things that can happen with skin, and I’m grateful that I don’t have too much going on with my own.

Sometimes if we encounter a lesion that we can’t immediately figure out, we biopsy it to see what it looks like under the microscope. Sometimes we shave the lesion off, and sometimes we punch it out with a tool that acts like a cookie cutter. I’ve been fortunate enough to get experience doing lots of both. It’s a peculiar thing to do, cutting out a piece of someone’s skin, and perhaps even more peculiar to be on the receiving end of it. I had a shave biopsy performed on myself a few years ago, which was actually done by one of the attending physicians I ended up working with this month, and it was a very odd experience.

I had a rash on the back of my left hand for a few weeks that was very itchy and was taking a long time to go away, so I went to see the dermatologist to figure out what it was. The dermatologist looked at my hand, poked it and pushed on it, and wrestled my arm to bring my hand closer to her face to get a better look.

“Hmmm… I don’t know what this is,” she said. “Let’s biopsy it!”

And before I knew it, she was setting up the instrument tray and the nurse came in the room with a camera to take a picture of my hand for the records. I was a little surprised, as I wasn’t quite expecting a biopsy so suddenly. But I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on, and it felt like the right thing to do. After numbing the area, the doctor took out a tiny saw with plastic edges that she held between her index finger and thumb, and shaved off a piece of the rash. The saw reminded me of the saws that you see pairs of cartoon lumberjacks using to cut down trees, only hers didn’t have any teeth. Afterward, they put a Band-Aid on it and sent me home. A week later, I got the results and it turned out to be spongiotic dermatitis, which is a characteristic of eczema. They gave me some steroid cream to use on it and it went away, and hasn’t bothered me since. Though, I do still have a pigmented scar on my hand as a reminder of the experience.

And now being the one to do the biopsies feels like completing some kind of circle. I feel more comfortable doing them, as I’ve gone through the experience myself. It’s very humbling too, as your skin is the most obvious part about you, and trusting someone enough to perform a procedure on it is very significant. I have learned so much from this rotation, and I believe that what I’ve learned this month will definitely help me in my future practice.

The only other significant event that occurred this month was that I finally finished the last of my residency interviews. I am very happy with how my interviews turned out and can see myself training at every place I visited. After going over all of my programs with my adviser, I ranked them all in a list and submitted it to the National Resident Matching Program. In March, a computer algorithm will take all of the applicant lists and residency program lists and try to make as many suitable matches as possible. Much like with a skin biopsy, the only thing left to do now is to wait for those results.

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29
Jan


closed

The interview trail — with a surprise ending

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Collage #2

From coast to coast and north to south, I racked up quite a few frequent-flyer miles and put some extra miles on my car during the interview season. Two months of packing and unpacking suitcases gets old fast, along with nonstop traveling, but overall it was fun going to different places. On the journey, I ran into some of my UF classmates on a few interviews — and, even more surprising — I ran into a couple of my old MIT classmates, including one who is a current IM resident and another who was on the interview trail like me. “It’s a small world after all!”

I am fortunate enough not to have any interview horror stories about lost luggage or getting stuck in a snow apocalypse. However, I did have a handful of delayed flights that reduced my sleeping time between interviews on a couple of occasions, which can be a pretty big deal since some interview days run until 4 p.m. and dozing off won’t help you earn a high spot on anyone’s rank list.

But overall it was an awesome experience traveling all over the country and seeing the different hospitals and meeting other medical students. I also enjoyed doing a lot of touristy things in the cities I could afford to stay multiple nights in because I stayed with family or college friends. Now it is time for me to evaluate all of the programs I visited and make my rank list based on where I feel I can get the best residency training. I hope my classmates had a great interview season like I did, and I can’t wait to see where we all end up on Match Day (March 20).

Last, but certainly not least, I made a pit stop in Boston with my boyfriend who I met while studying at MIT, and in that very city where we first laid eyes on one another he asked me to be his wife! Best ending to interview season EVER!

Collage 1

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30
Dec


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The End of 2014

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This 2014 holiday season has been the last that I’ll have as a student with free time, and I’ve had a chance to relax before the New Year and my last semester of medical school. It does feel strange writing that down and knowing that graduation is just around the corner. Time has gone by so quickly, and I now understand what many doctors meant when they said that in medical school “the days are long but the years are short.” “It’s the same way in residency too,” they also told me, and I feel as though I will be realizing the meaning of those words again very soon.

I feel like my life has changed a lot over this year. Of course, every year of our lives is significant in one way or another, and it’s always good to think about what kinds of changes have taken place. Hopefully, many of those were positive ones. 2014 has successfully seen me through the end of my third year of school and the beginning of my fourth, past my second series of board exams, and into the midst of my residency interviews. Many things have been accomplished and many things are still underway. I remember enduring many long working days, talking with many interesting patients and working alongside many intelligent and witty students and doctors. I have grown a lot as a person and have a better idea of what I want my life as a doctor to be like and the kind of doctor I want to be. I’m happy to say that, if I could do the year over again, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I am happy with everything that went well, and I’ve learned not to regret the things that went wrong.

Though my life has changed much over the course of this year, there will definitely be many more changes in the next. Some of the changes are expected, like graduation and the residency match, while others will be unforeseen and unpredictable. I hope I am ready to meet those unexpected challenges when they come. Thinking about it, I used to be in such a hurry to get to this point in time. And now that I am here, I find myself wishing that these long days could be a little longer. It makes me wonder why I think that way; perhaps I am too happy with the present, or cautious about the future, or both. But if there is one thing we cannot control, it is time. It moves on, always to new and unfamiliar territory, but somehow seems to have a comforting way of repeating itself. No matter what happens, it feels like 2015 will be a very interesting year.

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1
Dec


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Interview season

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Over the past few weeks, I have done more traveling than I can ever remember doing in one period of time. I’ve been to places all over the Southeast, traveling to interesting states like Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and Virginia. Sadly, this has not been for vacation, but for interview season.

At this time of year, fourth-year medical students across America are flying around the United States, looking at programs to train with for our residencies. I’ve stayed at each place for no more than a couple of days at a time and have grown accustomed to waiting in airports, running around those same airports to catch connecting flights, driving rental cars and getting lost in unfamiliar cities, and staying in a string of different but similar-looking hotel rooms. It is both a stressful and exciting time of year, and quite unlike anything I’ve experienced in medical school so far.

Working through the residency application process was fairly smooth. Once I submitted my online application and applied to the programs I liked, the most difficult part was the waiting. There was a lot of waiting to see if all of the paperwork, test score, and letters of recommendation were sent, and then more waiting to hear from programs to see if they wanted an interview.

For the last two weeks of September and the first few weeks of October, I was constantly checking my email for messages and frantically typing responses to programs whenever I received an invitation from them. Every time my phone buzzed with a new email, I would jump up and my heart would skip a beat. Needless to say, it was a very strange time to be working around me, as it must have looked like I was getting shocked by an invisible force at random intervals.

The residents and attendings I was working with, however, knew exactly what was going on. They took the time to reflect on their own experiences with interviews and gave me advice on how to get the most out of them. The most common thing they told me was to just be myself, as the interview process is less about determining the clinical competence or intelligence of an applicant and more about determining compatibility and personality. Program directors want to see if you fit in well with their institution and program philosophy, and if you could potentially grow with the program and get along with the other team members you would be working with.

Likewise, it is also a time for you to figure out if you can see yourself working in that program’s environment, and if you have the same priorities and goals that they do. They also told me that, above all else, you should trust your instincts and pay more attention to how a program makes you feel rather than other aspects, such as what their case numbers are or what their facilities are like. With all this in mind I felt more prepared, though no less anxious, to start my interviews.

Once the interview dates became more or less solidified, it was exciting to look at my list of programs and see all the potential places I could end up working in. I was very happy to see how my list was shaping up, and the next step was to coordinate the transportation and lodgings. I had to see if I wanted to fly or drive to a particular interview, if I had to rent a car and where the hotel nearest to the institution was.A lot of this was new to me, and it was great to learn how to manage the logistics of traveling and making sure all the necessary arrangements were in order.

So far things have been working out well, and I have actually learned a lot about the geography of the Southeast. This is a good thing, as I’ve never been very good at knowing where exactly all the states were located and what the major cities were. Every interview is a new adventure, and it has been very interesting to meet new people and see how other programs approach practicing medicine.

One of my favorite parts of each interview has been the resident dinner that is usually held the night before the interview. It is a great time to meet the residents of the program and talk to them about what it’s like to work and live in that city, as well as the kinds of things they do for fun. It’s also a great opportunity for them to meet the applicants and see who they might be working with next year.

Each dinner has been very informative and a great way to relax and alleviate anxiety before the official interviews, and I’ve found that each program has its own flavor and style. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what it is, but I am now appreciating more and more the advice I was given to just go with your gut and remember how a program makes you feel.

So far, I’ve had a lot of positive experiences with the residents I’ve talked to, and they have all seemed very happy with their choice of residency. It reassured me that the whole interview and matching process was designed to yield the best and fairest results for both the applicants and the programs. The residents were always willing to talk about the positive and negative aspects of their program, what their daily life is like, how they get along with their co-worker, and their own career goals; all of which was very valuable information to keep in mind.

The interview days themselves have been, just as I was told, very relaxed and enjoyable. Aside from the interviews themselves, the day usually consists of meeting the staff and faculty of the program, listening to a talk about the program itself and what life is like in that city, and then going on a tour of the facilities and meeting the residents.

The interview formats themselves have varied a lot depending on the program. Some interviews last more than half an hour each, while others are around fifteen minutes. Sometimes the interviews are done one-on-one, and other times with groups of people interviewing you. They usually include the program directors, faculty members and residents.

Regardless of the format or timing, they have always been very laid back and even enjoyable. Many interviewers are genuinely interested in you and your hobbies and talents, and ask questions to get to know you better as a person. I have talked to interviewers about so many different topics, many of them not related to medicine at all. I have talked about traveling, languages, my favorite foods, books, and movies, and my hobbies, like writing for this blog. I’ve also talked about my experiences as a medical student at UF, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that many of my interviewers were familiar with some of our faculty members and the work they did. It made me very proud to come from an institution with such an outstanding reputation.

Another great thing about going on interviews is that you get to meet other medical students from all over the United States who are going through the same process as you. At first, I thought it would be an intimidating thing, as all of us are essentially competing for the same limited spots in training programs, but it has been the exact opposite. I have enjoyed talking and interacting with the other applicants very much, and they have all been very friendly and interesting people, each with unique backgrounds. I have even bumped into some of the same people in later interviews, and it is always great to catch up and see where they are in their interview trail.

Seeing my fellow medical students and getting to know them reminded me of how large the scale of medicine is, and that everyone is on their own journey of trying to find where they would be happiest. As of now, I am only about halfway finished with my list of programs to visit, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season develops.

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13
Nov


closed

More rotations and the upcoming interview season

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We survived the night shift! Me and Amy Sheer, MS4

We survived the night shift! Me and Amy Sheer, MS4

Since my last post, I have been busy cultivating my skills in the area of cardiology on the inpatient consultation service at UF Health Shands Hospital. During the few weeks I spent on this team, I read numerous EKGs daily and markedly improved my EKG interpretation skills along with learning some tips for working up cardiac complaints. Having proficiency in both of these areas will help me tremendously as an intern next year.

Following my time on the cardiology service, I had the pleasure of working at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville. While there, I was able to work with an awesome team of physicians and physical and occupational therapists to help improve mobility and function of several patients who have experienced traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. Day after day I worked with patients before and after they went through hours of therapy with the goal of getting themselves into the best shape to leave the facility as independent as possible. I enjoyed my conversations with many of the people there; to hear their stories and see them have such a positive outlook on life was very humbling.

In my last post I spoke about my decision to pursue internal medicine as my specialty of choice, and shortly after I submitted my residency application. Since that time I have been very fortunate to receive interview invitations from several residency programs. I will admit I was a bit nervous about hearing back from programs, so when I received my first interview invite, I was overcome with joy and hope. I knew I was one step closer to my goal of becoming a licensed and board certified physician.

Over the course of the next few months I will be interviewing at these places to get a better understanding of the type of learning environment and overall experience I can expect during residency. I feel blessed to have this opportunity and plan to evaluate all my options carefully, with the goal of choosing an institution that will nurture my career interests and provide me with the necessary experiences to be an excellent physician.

All the while, I have been continuing my rotations and recently started one in emergency medicine in Jacksonville. I began with the night shift — or, as my dad so aptly calls it, the “graveyard shift.” It has been a big adjustment for my circadian rhythm, but I have enjoyed the fast pace and different approach to problem solving. I am sure I will see plenty of interesting cases before this month is over, as UF Health Jacksonville is a Level 1 Trauma Center in a pretty large and diverse city. But I am up for the challenge, and I think I will learn some valuable skills that will come in handy during residency.

Next up: Three more weeks of emergency medicine and the start of interview season. Fourth year is turning out to be as fun and exciting as previously advertised.