Super Star Blogs!

Medicine and the Humanities

How would you like to increase your levels of wisdom, empathy, self-efficacy, emotional appraisal, and spatial skills while decreasing your intolerance of ambiguity, physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, and cognitive weariness? Who wouldn’t want to play this game, right? According to a 2018 study, exposure to humanities such as literature, music, theater, and visual arts provides these benefits.

But medicine is all about scientific information and knowledge, right? Isn’t it about data-driven decision making? In the current climate of meaningful use and clinical documentation improvement requirements, is there room for anything besides data in the practice of medicine?

The answer is that multiple studies confirm the benefits of incorporating the arts and humanities into the practice of medicine, not only to benefit patients (music therapy, anyone?), but for the good of the providers as well. We don’t have to be doctors, though, to recognize that the same principles apply to us as scribes when it comes to our own empathy and emotional wellbeing.

If you’d like to increase your observational skills, study art. To listen better and improve communication, listen to music. To better empathize, dance or write a poem, or both. To collaborate better, perform in an ensemble. To avoid burnout, take a sculpting class. Both the arts and medicine build on a foundational level of skill built up over practice, and then they take on layers of artistic interpretation to bring about astonishing results. Get started layering now!

(Similarly, the physical and emotional benefits of exercise in the practice of medicine are well-documented and worthy of a separate article at another time.)

If you’re interested in reading more about medicine and the arts, check out these links:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-017-4275-8

https://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(17)31708-6/fulltext

https://hms.harvard.edu/news/arts-and-medicine?fbclid=IwAR0D-HyhzlM_wxfo73cjnc6QFsyatzPdOfPk2FScW3FuQDVNbehvxl5I2Xg

http://test.medicalmusical.com/

https://mh.bmj.com/content/26/1/3#ref-7 

(Anne Bean is a Scribe Training Administrator with AQuity Solutions and plays violin with a local string quartet.)

(Reprinted from June 2019 Vital Signs, AQuity Solutions Scribing Services Newsletter)

Potential Transfer to the University of Maryland, College Park 

Hello everyone,

I would like to inform you that, there is a good chance I will leave The Ohio State University for the University of Maryland. Out of state tuition accumulation after year one will be insane. I don’t want to go to medical school with a lot of debt from undergrad. There were a few times in the academic year, I felt unwelcomed on campus. I envision myself being a physician-scientist (MD-PhD or DO-PhD) and having many degrees. Including assets. A huge amount of debt will complicate my future. As a black male, that is one of the many challenges I have to face in the United States. UMD is a large PWI like OSU. The difference will be, the in-state tuition, home field advantage, and I know people on campus already. It is a very familiar environment. It will be a different experience, racism and discrimination will always exist on some level. To be a world renown physician-scientist, that is something I have to overcome. These were thoughts I had for several weeks now and I have pondered them very deeply. I am grateful for the bonds I have created at The Ohio State University. It will be something I will remember for the rest of life. I have also created a Twitter moment that has many tweets, videos, and pictures throughout my first year at The Ohio State University. Since we met, my life has changed a lot. I know I want to revolutionize the field of medicine with my interests in cybersecurity, quantum mechanics, natural medicine, alternative medicine, integrative medicine, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, mathematics, neuroscience, data analytics, medical physics, and spirituality. Moreover, I have received an opportunity to apply for the University of Kentucky Medical Education Development Summer Program (UKMED). Currently, I am a tutor for Grade Potential Tutoring. I tutor biology, chemistry, consumer computer software, pre-algebra, algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2, and pre-calculus. Furthermore, I have applied for 6 opportunities at Johns Hopkins. Last month, I have also won an award, premedical student of the week from Diverse Medicine. I am determined to become a great physician.

Ohio State Twitter Moment: https://twitter.com/i/moments/1133811796626812928

Sincerely,

Shiraz Robinson II

5 Reasons Why It’s Worth The Wait!

Week 51 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 why the field of medicine is worth the wait.  To become a doctor, you have to put in decades of work!  It’s a tough road with plenty of sacrifices.  You’ll have ups and downs that make you question why you’re pursuing this career.  DON’T QUIT!  It’s worth the wait!  Here are 5 reasons why!

Click HERE to register for our next webinar with Yale School of Medicine’s Linda Jackson.  

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at www.PreHealthMarket.com

Who is on your team?

Any person who sets out to accomplish a challenge knows that having the right support system is critical to success. Therefore, it should not be surprising that preparing for a career in the health professions similarly requires the right support.

The Diverse Medicine Recruitment Center is one (excellent) tool for online guidance, support, and mentoring. In addition, I also recommend having an onsite faculty advisor at your institution. These are professors, upperclassmen students, or counselors who have a track record of successfully guiding applicants to entry in a professional program. A campus advisor can help with information such as: which sections of a class will be more beneficial; which professors are more likely to prepare a student for higher MCAT and other entry exams; and if there are benefits to any specific order to take pre-requisite classes to best prepare for applications and testing.

Another part of your support system is fellow students. Some students prefer to study alone, others in pairs or a study group. Students can help in more ways then simply study partners. Even if you tend to study by yourself, there are many benefits to networking (outside of study time) with other students at the same level you are. Other students will be able to share information they have learned from their own mentors; they may have access to study materials you do not have; and they may also have information on campus resources, clubs, or other organizations that can help you achieve your goals. Conversely, if you surround yourself with underachieving and unmotivated classmates, they may hinder your academic goals.

Last, but definitely not least, a third part of your support system consists of people and activities which serve to maintain your mental health. This includes date nights with your significant other; outings with your platonic friends; regular exercise; listening to music; getting periodic massages (massage schools have low cost massages!); attending religious services; or anything else that spiritually, mentally, and emotionally uplifts you. If your mind and body are in the ideal condition, you will be more likely to succeed academically and professionally.

Let’s keep this conversation going: in the comments, please include who else is in your personal support system; who has, or is, helping you to achieve your goals?

How to Request a Rec Letter

Many premeds undervalue the importance of getting excellent letters of recommendation for their medical school application. As a matter of fact, some students have been told that these letters aren’t all that important. Well, let me tell you right now, that is NOT true. These letters matter a lot. Just think about it, each medical school get’s thousands of applicants, most of whom were great students in college. However, for the most part, the medical schools don’t know the applicants personally, so they must rely on other people’s testimonies of the students to judge their character and work ethic. That’s were the rec letters come in play. In this article, I’ll share 3 “must do’s” for requesting a rec letter.

1) Build a foundation. This should be obvious, but I’ll start with it anyways. If you want great letters, you need to ask people with whom you have a great relationship. Great relationships don’t come overnight. Rather, they come from months to years of building a foundational trust and respect for one another. Your request for a rec letter begins at the time of your first interaction with the individual and continues for the full duration of your relationship. So, step #1 in getting a great letter is to invest in the relationship months to years before you need the letter!

2) Ask for a strong letter. Here’s where many premeds drop the ball. They simply ask for a letter of recommendation rather than asking for a STRONG letter. When you ask for a STRONG letter (you don’t have to capitalize the word strong) your letter writer will understand exactly what you mean. He or she knows you want a letter that will make you stand out above you peers who asked for a plain ol’ rec letter. Strong letters include words such as “excellent”, “best”, “exceptional”, etc. Trust me, when the medical schools read rec letters, they can tell the difference between a strong and regular rec letter. You want yours to be in the memorable pile!

3) Send your Diverse Medicine profile and personal statement. No matter how well someone knows you, you can’t expect them to remember everything about you so it’s important that you send them a nice summary of your accomplishments. This is very simple to do. Go to your DiverseMedicine.com profile page and click on the blue “share” icon in the top right corner. This allows you send an email directly from our site that has a link to your profile page for them to review. I’d go as far as to say that every member on Diverse Medicine should use this feature when requesting a rec letter. Also, if you had a completed or draft form of your personal statement, send that as well.

Getting strong rec letters is a priority when applying to medical school. If you can follow these three simple steps, I’m willing to bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the quality of letters you get!

5 Reasons to Consider a Gap Year

Week 50 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 reasons to consider a gap year.  Nowadays, many students take a break between college and medical school.  There are plenty of benefits to doing this.  In this weeks episode, we’l consider five of them.

Click HERE to register for our next webinar on Wednesday May 29th at 8pm ET- “Budgeting for the Med School Application Process”.  This is a part of our 3rd annual Application Boot Camp Webinar Series in partnership with SNMA

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at www.PreHealthMarket.com

Congratulations to Justin! Student of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. I enjoy reading, swimming, and going out with my friends from high school. After finishing undergrad I spent a year interning in a research lab, volunteering in New York’s first geriatric emergency department, and tutoring 11 year old students in math and reading. I spent the past couple of years working as a research associate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. 

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?

I respected all of my teachers however there was one that really had a lasting effect on me. That was 8th grade history teacher Mr. Callahan. He taught me that one should listen to learn and learn to listen. Very simple yet powerful statement. 

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? 

Well, I first knew I wanted to become a doctor after volunteering at the Weill Cornell Medical center and working in a unit that treats patients with neurological disorders. I will never forget the first patient I encountered, a bedridden man whom the nurses called Chris, “the king”, because of his desire for attention as well as his liking to misbehave and indiscriminately yell at the staff. I was deeply saddened when I saw him because of the state he was in and that he never had any visitors. I decided to visit him every day and help him with his meals until he was transferred to another hospital. After working in the neuro unit I wanted to be in a position where I could do more for these patients and help treat them. That is when I first started thinking about becoming a doctor. I was also fascinated by the brain and wanted a career in which I could care for these patients and come up with treatments that would improve their lives. I was also driven by a desire to contribute and eventually produce my own scholarship.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?

My goal is to become a neurologist and be a clinician as well as a translational researcher. I was always interested in understanding how natural compounds can be used to treat neurodegenerative disorders. Other areas of medicine that I am interested in are emergency medicine just because of the pace of things and the ability to constantly see something new. 

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?

Winning an NIH diversity supplement grant for two years under Dr. Pasinetti’s mentorship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. After receiving the grant, I presented my research in conferences around the country and contributed to 6 original research publications. I worked alongside a postdoctoral research fellow for an exciting project aimed at understanding how dietary polyphenols compounds found in grapes improve memory function in mice by using a pre-existing technology called optogenetics a method that allows for the manipulation of neurons by turning them on and off using a certain wavelength of light. The project demonstrated that dietary polyphenols improve memory by upregulating a gene called c-fos in the hippocampus. 

What is your favorite book? 

Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I recommend this book because sometimes the most powerful statements are the ones that are the most obvious; the statements we are assumed to know but ignore and do not apply in our daily lives. I recommend Start With Why not just for pre-meds but also for anyone in general who is going through adversity or has lost his or her sense of direction. 

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.

I like reading books about history particularly the pacific theater of WWII and the Civil War. 

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do?

I would pursue a career in education as I enjoy teaching. 

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?

My biggest obstacle in my premedical journey has been my mother’s recent passing from cancer and the immense challenges and uncertainty it has brought to my life. I used to accompany her during chemotherapy treatments in the afternoon and then I would have to return to the lab the same day. I am certain there is not a single person who can walk out of a cancer ward and not in some way be emotionally moved. Seeing the suffering of my own mother as well as those of the other cancer patients forced me to think about my own life and its meaning. It made me see the temporality of my own life and instilled in me a sense of urgency: to pursue one’s passions, to act, and to love now not later. I knew wanted a career that I could devote my life to and this tragedy has called me even more strongly to take care of sick and their families because I was there myself. 

10. What do you like most about Diverse Medicine?

Well, the sense of community that it builds the chance to interact with other premeds!

DMRC: how it all started

It was early 2013 and I was sitting in my 2nd floor, 1 bedroom apartment when I received a phone call from my brother Dr. Dale. “Did you read that AAMC report bro,” he said. Right then, I knew my brother was up to something. Something very big.

The next day, Dr. Dale and a 4th year medical student, Simon knocked on my door and the three of us walked downstairs to my apartment lounge to film the first ever Black Men In White Coats video. We propped up a cell phone camera and laptop and began filming the 36 minute impromptu discussion on the dearth of black males applying to medical school. In no time, the video spread around our Duke campus and across the internet. Our goal was to shed light on this very serious issue. The number of black males applying to medical school was less in 2011 than it was in 1978. Since then, we have received a number of honors and seen a movement growing as groups and books with similar themes of “black” and “white coat” began to appear. I’m very grateful Dr. Dale stepped up and took on this challenge.

https://youtu.be/Bi8Jg8X07VU

The purpose of Black Men in White Coats has always been to highlight a significant problem that affects the healthcare system and to motivate the next generation through inspirational documentaries, podcasts, and books. However, motivation can only take one so far. This is why we created DiverseMedicine.org to reach and be more personal to diverse groups prehealth students and offer mentoring and shadowing opportunities. This was a very powerful platform that connected physicians with students across the nation.

It has been awesome seeing so many students we met years ago now completing medical school and entering residency. However, there were those students that unfortunately did not make it to medical school. They always stay on the back of our minds. The ones that really hurt were the those that would have been amazing doctors if someone took a chance on them or even simply got to know them a little better. On the other hand, there were some medical schools struggling to find or maintain a diverse, well-rounded student body. How could a small medical school in a less well-known town in Montana ever come across Maria who is from the Bronx? Something needed to be done to allow these students to showcase themselves holistically and for the medical schools to reach out to these students. Kind of like a match.com for med school. This was the beginning of PreMed STAR which subsequently expanded to Diverse Medicine Recruitment Center. We’ve been privileged to partner with organizations like AMSA, SNMA/MAPS, AQuity Solutions, and Kaplan who allowed us to give out roughly $20,000 worth of MCAT prep scholarships to our community students in 2018.

https://www.keranews.org/post/dallas-doctor-creates-virtual-handshake-pre-med-students-medical-schools 

The Future

We are now part of something huge! I am super proud to be a part of this and I hope you are too. It is truly an honor to provide guidance to so many students. We are building a powerful, supportive community where premedical students can have a safe space to ask questions, share tips with one another, vent, and receive solid guidance from schools, med students and doctors. This is a very unique platform that has already helped a number of students in fulfilling their dreams of becoming a doctor. Our community is rapidly growing everyday with more and more students and medical schools joining. This is very exciting! We’ve come a long way and there are even greater things to come. I strongly encourage every premed student reading this to:

1. Complete and update your profile page

2. Invite your premed friends and clubs to join

3. Be active and share resources with your peers

4. Reach out to our partnering schools

5. Let us know how we can improve

The community can only help as much as you allow it to help you. Get involved and take full advantage of this opportunity. We can do this together!

A Day in the Life of an AQuity Scribe – Cody

I have had the amazing opportunity of working with Dr. Fleet of Huggins Hospital in New Hampshire.

Clinic starts at 8:00 AM; however, I log in about 7:30 so I can start his chart prep. We use a lot of templates and pull over pertinent information from the prior charts. We have anywhere from 12 to 16 patients a day. Dr. Fleet logs into FFS about 8:05 and we are ready to start the day. Prior to seeing each patient, Dr. Fleet will give me a rundown of what he hopes to review during the visit. During the rundown, he tells me what orders are needed (these are normally labs), historical dates to include, and the preliminary diagnosis that we will be using.

In the room I cover the HPI, ROS, additional vitals, PE, additional historical information, ordering labs, pending medications to be sent to the pharmacy, ordering referrals, coding, return visits, and anything else that may pop up during the visit. This sounds like a lot of information to keep track of, and it is, but we make a great team. You will learn that at some offices the assistants do very little, so the scribe will update the medication list, social history, family history, etc.

In between patients, Dr. Fleet will play music or we converse while I am cleaning up the chart for him to sign. I always make sure my chart is completed before we go into the next patient’s room; this insures that Dr. Fleet is not bombarded with a lot of charts at the end of the day.

The key to a successful provider/scribe relationship is communication between us. If you are not sure how to word something, or spell something, or how to order it, just ask. The providers want you to get it right and ask questions rather than guess and never talk. Just like if you were there in person, you have to keep the communication lines open.

Another important factor for successful scribing is to not get frustrated. In the beginning, there is always going to be a learning curve. We, as scribes, are learning a new EMR system that we have probably never used prior to joining the team, and we are learning a provider that we have never physically met. We cannot tell what is going on because we cannot see, so we are having to rely on our hearing. If you cannot hear, speak up. Your provider will use either a JABRA device or their cell phone for the FFS room. The JABRA is greatly preferred and appreciated because it can pick up everything; I think it is the best device for us scribes.

I have learned through my short time here at AQuity (3 months at the end of May) that we are all a family. Learn to talk to your provider, teammates, and managers. We all want each other to succeed! 

(Cody lives in North Carolina, where he is a virtual medical scribe for a doctor in New Hampshire.)

5 Ways to Pay for Medical School

Week 49 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 ways to pay for medical school.  Unfortunately, many premeds aren’t taught much about finances prior to starting medical school.  This leads to some pretty poor decisions which have real implications years later.  In general, there are very few ways to finance medical school and in this episode I’ll cover 5 of them while enforcing some words of caution, primarily pertaining to medical school loans.

Click HERE to register for our next webinar on Wednesday May 22nd at 7pm EST- “How to get EXCELLENT Rec Letters!”.  This is a part of our 3rd annual Application Boot Camp Webinar Series in partnership with SNMA

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at www.PreHealthMarket.com 

 

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