Super Star Blogs!

Diverse Medicine Recruitment Center

We are excited to announce that PreMed STAR is transitioning to Diverse Medicine Recruitment Center.  As our community has grown, it continues to increase in diversity and the interest and concerns of our members is becoming more evident.  To meet your needs, we are placing a greater emphasis on providing opportunities for development and recruitment to individuals from diverse backgrounds.  Here’s what you can expect!!

  1. Increased culture driven content.  The truth is, diversity drives excellence.  This has been well studied from the sciences to business.  As a matter of fact, we know that diversity helps increase the bottom line in business.  That being the case, it’s essential that we include culturally relevant content to edify our members.  Many organizations are scared to address such topics, however our mission is to develop tomorrow’s leaders in medicine.  Leaders don’t run from challenging discussions and because that is true, we understand that it is in the best interest of our community to provide the necessary content to prepare you to engage in these topics.
  2. Expanding beyond premeds.  Our intent has never been to limit the resources in this community to premeds alone. Unfortunately, the name PreMed STAR has done just that.  Achieving optimal health outcomes is a task that goes well beyond doctors.  Physician Assistants Nurse Practitioners, etc. are critical in this mission and just like those who will have MD or DO following their names, these individuals are drastically lack the resources to be successful.  Furthermore, just because a student gets into medical school doesn’t mean that they’ve got everything figured out from that point on.  Honestly, it only gets harder and more support is needed!  We are equipped to provide some of that support, therefore feel obligated to do so.
  3. Increased services and products.  Finally, with the introduction of Diverse Medicine Recruitment Center, we will provide more services to help develop our members into leaders.  Our intent here is to offer affordable services that our students can take advantage of and see meaningful results from their utilization. For example, quite a few of you have already taken advantage of the PreHealth Market.  Such things help level the playing field for individuals with limited financial resources.  By doing this, we are able to ensure some of our best students don’t get left behind simply because they lacked the resources to succeed.

We want you all to know that we are here to help you succeed!  There are plenty of resources in our community to help you do just that.  In the end, our goal is to ensure that you all become leaders in the medical field with hearts of servitude!  You all will be the ones responsible for ensuring a bright future in health for our nation and world.

5 Things to do in Preparation for Interview Day

Week 43 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 things to do in preparation for interview day.  Hands down, this is one of the most inquired about topic.  The truth is, if a school gives you an interview, they probably think you’re a good enough student to succeed at their institution.  It’s your job now not to blow the interview.  Better yet, it’s your job to set yourself apart in a positive way.  In this episode, I’ll teach you 5 things that are critical to do in preparation for your interviews!

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

A Day in the Life of an AQuity Scribe – Spike

You will learn 5,000 new words in your first year of medical/PA/NP school and, depending on how long you scribe, you may well learn a significant chunk of these. And yet, this is not the most important thing you will learn as a medical scribe. The most important thing you will learn is the back and forth, the ebb and flow, the taking and recording of medical history. Even in this day of advances in imaging and laboratory testing, the medical history is still what is used to make a correct diagnosis 75-80% of the time. You will not learn most of what there is to know about history taking during your time as a scribe, because you will not have learned the data needed on which to base your history taking, but if you pay attention to what questions your provider is asking, and how the patient answers those questions, you will be well served in your future career. As a medical scribe you will learn to do what healthcare providers have learned to do, namely, to record in the medical record not so much what is said as what is meant. You will learn, in other words, to synthesize, to translate, as it were, from a two-person dialogue which often rambles into a coherent story. That story is the history.

I start my shift well before the provider is scheduled to begin work and do what he or she will do. I review and take notes about each patient scheduled and then look over the medication and problem lists. I ask myself why the patient is taking a given medication, then note which problems are chronic or acute, and finally decide which problem(s) may be most important to the health of the patient. For patients who are returning to discuss results of laboratory or imaging results, I make sure I have already made copious notes about the results. For patients who are returning for followup visits for recent onset, acute illness or for more chronic conditions, I always look back over prior visit, ER, and consultant notes to review the nature of prior diagnoses and symptoms, and will keep these in mind as today’s visit begins to flow.

At the end of the patient visit, in conjunction with the provider, I make sure all diagnoses in the assessment section are correct, with resolved problems no longer appearing on the active problem list, and that all diagnoses and medications have been addressed in the plan/discussion section. My scribe attestation signature goes at the bottom of the note only after I have proofread what has been entered, after which I release the note for the provider to review. Then on to the next patient!

(Spike is a retired physician and businessman who now scribes remotely from Arizona for family practice providers in the San Francisco Bay area.)

A Day in the Life of an AQuity Scribe – Spike

You will learn 5,000 new words in your first year of medical/PA/NP school and, depending on how long you scribe, you may well learn a significant chunk of these. And yet, this is not the most important thing you will learn as a medical scribe. The most important thing you will learn is the back and forth, the ebb and flow, the taking and recording of medical history. Even in this day of advances in imaging and laboratory testing, the medical history is still what is used to make a correct diagnosis 75-80% of the time. You will not learn most of what there is to know about history taking during your time as a scribe, because you will not have learned the data needed on which to base your history taking, but if you pay attention to what questions your provider is asking, and how the patient answers those questions, you will be well served in your future career. As a medical scribe you will learn to do what healthcare providers have learned to do, namely, to record in the medical record not so much what is said as what is meant. You will learn, in other words, to synthesize, to translate, as it were, from a two-person dialogue which often rambles into a coherent story. That story is the history.

I start my shift well before the provider is scheduled to begin work and do what he or she will do. I review and take notes about each patient scheduled and then look over the medication and problem lists. I ask myself why the patient is taking a given medication, then note which problems are chronic or acute, and finally decide which problem(s) may be most important to the health of the patient. For patients who are returning to discuss results of laboratory or imaging results, I make sure I have already made copious notes about the results. For patients who are returning for followup visits for recent onset, acute illness or for more chronic conditions, I always look back over prior visit, ER, and consultant notes to review the nature of prior diagnoses and symptoms, and will keep these in mind as today’s visit begins to flow.

At the end of the patient visit, in conjunction with the provider, I make sure all diagnoses in the assessment section are correct, with resolved problems no longer appearing on the active problem list, and that all diagnoses and medications have been addressed in the plan/discussion section. My scribe attestation signature goes at the bottom of the note only after I have proofread what has been entered, after which I release the note for the provider to review. Then on to the next patient!

(Spike is a retired physician and businessman who now scribes remotely from Arizona for family practice providers in the San Francisco Bay area.)

A Day in the Life of an AQuity Scribe – Spike

You will learn 5,000 new words in your first year of medical/PA/NP school and, depending on how long you scribe, you may well learn a significant chunk of these. And yet, this is not the most important thing you will learn as a medical scribe. The most important thing you will learn is the back and forth, the ebb and flow, the taking and recording of medical history. Even in this day of advances in imaging and laboratory testing, the medical history is still what is used to make a correct diagnosis 75-80% of the time. You will not learn most of what there is to know about history taking during your time as a scribe, because you will not have learned the data needed on which to base your history taking, but if you pay attention to what questions your provider is asking, and how the patient answers those questions, you will be well served in your future career. As a medical scribe you will learn to do what healthcare providers have learned to do, namely, to record in the medical record not so much what is said as what is meant. You will learn, in other words, to synthesize, to translate, as it were, from a two-person dialogue which often rambles into a coherent story. That story is the history.

I start my shift well before the provider is scheduled to begin work and do what he or she will do. I review and take notes about each patient scheduled and then look over the medication and problem lists. I ask myself why the patient is taking a given medication, then note which problems are chronic or acute, and finally decide which problem(s) may be most important to the health of the patient. For patients who are returning to discuss results of laboratory or imaging results, I make sure I have already made copious notes about the results. For patients who are returning for followup visits for recent onset, acute illness or for more chronic conditions, I always look back over prior visit, ER, and consultant notes to review the nature of prior diagnoses and symptoms, and will keep these in mind as today’s visit begins to flow.

At the end of the patient visit, in conjunction with the provider, I make sure all diagnoses in the assessment section are correct, with resolved problems no longer appearing on the active problem list, and that all diagnoses and medications have been addressed in the plan/discussion section. My scribe attestation signature goes at the bottom of the note only after I have proofread what has been entered, after which I release the note for the provider to review. Then on to the next patient!

(Spike is a retired physician and businessman who now scribes remotely from Arizona for family practice providers in the San Francisco Bay area.)

5 Dual Degree Programs to Consider

Week 42 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 dual degree programs to consider.  One great thing about the field of medicine is that other degrees complement the MD (or DO) very well.  In this episode of PreMed Mondays, we’ll discuss five dual degree programs that premeds can consider.

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

Who’s got Your Back?

What if I shared with you a trick to increase your chance at being successful by 95%? It’s really not that hard but even if I share this hack I’m willing to bet that less than 10% of you will actually follow it.

We all know the importance of setting goals. If you read through our blogs you will see that many of them highlight the necessity of setting these goals. Goals are easy to set but why do so many of us fall short and give up? According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), committing to an accountability partner can increase your chance at success by 65%. In order to increase your chance of success by 95%, you need to get specific by setting up accountability appointments with that person. You must select a reliable accountability partner and COMMIT to a plan with that person. You must not overcommit yourself to your own detriment and you must not overburden your accountability partner as well. So, who makes a good accountability partner?

1. Your Mentor: I stress to every premed student the need for a solid mentor. Since 2011, Dr. Dale and I have had the honor of mentoring and providing mentors to premedical and medical students across the nation through online platforms. We took it upon ourselves to structure the mentorship not only by linking people together but also by recommending meeting schedules. Through this, I have come to recognize that many of those who succeeded in reaching their goals were committed to meeting with their mentor. A mentor who has walked your path will know exactly what to do when times get tough and you want to quit. I liken this to the role a good physician has with his or her patients. Physicians and mentors alike can help you (better than most people in your life) to refine your goals and steps to make them more appropriate since they have either been through the same journey themselves or have the knowledge of what it takes to get there. When you establish a mentorship, make certain to have a meeting with that mentor to share your goals and steps you will take to get there. Make sure to ask her or him if you can check in every so often. If they say “no”, then please move on. You can use your mentor as an accountability partner but you must allow them to be just that.

2. Social Media: I love seeing social media posts of people exercising, eating healthy and showing the world that they have lost 20 lbs over the past 3 months. These people are much more likely to reach their goals than those who keep the goals to themselves. We all love to see hard work pay off as though we were watching Rocky training for that big fight. We tend to chip in and offer tips, helpful products, promotions, and important dates to those who are bold enough to put themselves out there. You will be motivated like crazy to succeed but if you do fail while doing this it will likely hurt but you will have a lot of people there to pick you up along the way and you will not want to let them down. If you had gone at it alone, then you just may give up and leave your dreams behind. There is no prouder moment than watching students traverse the premed path while sharing their progress each semester until they’ve reached their goal of matriculating to medical school. This is awesome and it is what PreMed STAR is all about. We have developed a community in order to provide a safe space for accountability and encouragement. Many have taken advantage of the platform and have made the most of it. For those who prefer to be private, I recommend connecting with one or two people also applying to medical school on PreMed STAR. Share your goals with that person and schedule a monthly check with that person. These are the things that set successful people apart.  

3. Parent: Never forget where you come from because this just may provide your biggest motivation to succeed. “I want to move my mom to a bigger house.” “I want to be able to treat my grandpa’s diabetes one day.” “I want to raise my children like my parents raised me one day.” Most of us don’t even recognize that our parents tend to serve as our best accountability partners. I have read a number of personal statements and helped with mock interviews over the years. I can easily say that a majority of the “why medicine” answers stem from an experience involving a family member. Often times it is a parent’s ailment or encouragement that serves as a driving force. Making promises or setting goals with your parents creates an accountability partnership. Unlike other partners, parents can be 100% real with you and offer solid constructive criticism. They know what drives you and can reach far back into your history to trigger an emotion. At the same time, some parents can also be poor accountability partners. As a medical student, I had a very close friend who nearly quit medicine because her mother continuously dissuaded her. While I was motivated and encouraged after chatting with my parents, she was in tears and felt guilty after listening to her mother begging her to quit and stay home with her child. It is important that you only allow people into this accountability role who will positively support you and share hard truths.

4. Best Friend: This one is a no-brainer. By now, those of you who have followed our blogs on PreMed STAR know how strongly we emphasize friendships. I hope those of you reading this have already filtered your friendship circle to a solid core. Your best friend may be a childhood buddy, teammate, sibling, significant other or spouse. This person should want you to succeed. He or she should be one of your biggest fans. You will likely have more encounters with this person than anyone else. Unlike other accountability partners, your best friend will wake you up in the middle of the night to make sure you finished your assignment. Your friend will go on a jog with you and chat about future goals with you. They will likely be the first person you will talk to after a rough break-up or bad test score. A best friend should not be competing against you and you should not be doing the same to them. Jealousy should not exist in the relationship. If you can’t be honest and transparent with your best friend by sharing grades and plans, this is likely not really your best friend and you may need to work harder in this area.

5. Yourself: Last but definitely not least, YOU can serve as your own personal accountability partner. I’m not asking you to develop split personality disorder but you may have to adopt unique strategies to hold yourself accountable. For instance, keeping a calendar, writing down important deadlines, ridding your space from distractions, creating incentives, and setting alarms can keep you accountable. Develop healthy habits now so you can thrive as you reach your goals. Many of you who have heard Dr. Dale speak are aware of his large 4.0 poster hung over his bed. Despite having others (even accountability partners) discouraging him, he persevered partially because he returned to a room with that 4.0 staring at him. I was a witness to this and it was no shock to me as he earned that 4.0 semester after semester until graduation.

Your task for this week is to: 

1. Write down the person and/or social media platform you intend to use as your accountability partner.

2. Commit by informing that person or preparing your account.

3. Get started!

Outlast Failure

Week 41 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers  Outlasting Failure.  We all struggle with challenges along our various paths and at times we experience “failure”.  But what is failure? What does that word mean to you?  The famous quote says “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”  Check out this episode of PreMed Mondays as I discuss what it means to outlast failure.

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

Leading in Medicine

My professional mission is simple, to develop tomorrow’s leaders in medicine. As technology advances and demographics shift, the need for strong leadership in every field is more important now than ever.  I’d argue that this is especially true in healthcare given that lives are at stake.

Doctors must be leaders. Take a moment to think about what our professional mandate is.  We lead people to better physical and mental well-being.  Throughout our schooling, we are taught how care for patients, which is essential, but there is an obvious lack in leadership training.  This leads to poor alignment between members of healthcare teams and a dysfunctional system.  My role in medicine, is to turn the tide and help future doctors understand the importance of leadership at an early stage. Furthermore, I desire to guide you all along the journey of becoming strong leaders.  That being said, here are three essential items I believe everyone must do in order to become an excellent leader.

  1. Start by following.  Physicians tend to have a“Type A” personality.  Too often, we want to jump straight into the helm and take control of the ship.  This eagerness is a great quality to have,but it must be controlled.  Strong leaders are not made overnight.  Before you can lead anybody, you must first know what it means to be a follower.  Being a follower allows you to study the characteristics of a leader.  Take a moment to think about one person who leads you in life.  Now write down 5 characteristics of that person.  Are they good at leading?  Why or why not?  How do they communicate with you?  Do they do what they say they’ll do?  What specifically makes them a good or bad leader?  As a follower of this person,how do they make you feel in various circumstances?   These are all questions you should actively contemplate in order to prepare yourself to lead at higher levels. 
  2. Learn to listen.  Leading is about serving.  Jesus once said, “the greatest among you will be your servant.”  When you are the leader, you put other people’s desires at the top and yours at the bottom. In order to know what they want and need, you must listen to them.  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they are trying to lead is talking too much.  We have been sold a false image of what a strong leader looks like, and often the image is of an individual who is talking.  The problem with people who talk too much is that they never take the time to be quiet and allow others to speak.  This prohibits them from learning what other people need. If you don’t know what someone else needs, it’s rather difficult to serve them.  If you’re not serving them,you’re not leading them.  Learn to listen.  Leading is NOT about you.  It’s about THEM!
  3. Be willing to take the hit.  This is where many weak leaders are exposed.  By definition, a leader is one who is out in front.  When you’re in front, you are vulnerable to take the first hit which many times is also the hardest hit.  To be an effective leader, you have to be willing to take that blow for those who are following you.  You must sacrifice your own well-being for the sake of theirs.  Only after you have been bruised and paved a way do you bring your followers along.  You bring them when the risk to benefit ratios significantly in their favor.  What tends to happen with weak leaders is they have a big voice and make bold statements that attract followers. However, when danger arises, they’re not willing to take that hit!  They lack conviction and commitment. 

So, time for you to take the lead and chime in.  What are other important characteristics that leaders need to have in order to be effective?

5 Things to Consider When Choosing Which School to Apply to!

Week 40 of  the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 things to consider when choosing which medical schools to apply to!  Yes you need to apply strategically!  There are a few key things every premed should consider when deciding which schools to apply to.  Here are some of them:

1) Has the school shown any interest in you?

2) What are their average USMLE/COMLEX pass rates?

3) What are their average GPA/MCAT

4) The specific field you are interested in

5) Locations

BONUS: Curriculum styles (e.g. PBL vs traditional)

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

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