Step 1 is Pass/Fail. Now what???

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Does making Step 1 pass/fail change everything?

The news that the USMLE changed the all-important Step 1 exam–which many residency programs have been using improperly to stratify applicants and which can affect one’s specialty choice–to pass/fail starting in 2022-ish caused quite a bit of shock and consternation last week.  Sure, some celebrated the change as a victory, but there’s just one liiiiiittle problem: the more competitive residency programs feel they need some standardized measure to base their choices on.

Several listeners wrote in with questions on the change, and the underlying concerns those questions addressed was the uncertainty left in the wake of this change–to wit, “what am I to aim for if there is no three-digit score I can point to as a mark of excellence?”  Though the powers-that-be are essentially responding, “we’re working on it, we’ll get back to you on that,” there are some possibilities to consider.   And we shall, with the help of M4 Matt Wilson, MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk and Hannah Van Ert, and M1 Nathen Spitz.

Special thanks to listener Terrified Chihuahua and everyone who reached out with questions on this sudden shift in the medical education landscape!


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What are your thoughts on how a pass/fail Step 1 score will change medical education and the residency application process? Did we miss anything? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!

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Why Come to the US for Residency When Turkey has Pet Parks?

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istanbul photoTurkish listener Ali would like to come to the US for residency and to practice medicine someday, so he wrote to us to ask us what we knew about how that works.  Co-host Nadia Wahba happened to visit Turkey a while back and blew our minds by letting us in on a little secret: that in the city she visited, there are public parks full of well-cared-for pets you can visit and play with.

Also, Dave subjects the gang–which also includes MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M2 Jenna Mullins, and M3 Brendan George–to a game of Great Minds Think Alike: Med School Edition.


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This Week in Medical News

A Florida resident calls the cops after they receive what the suspect is a box of Novel Coronavirus (now named Covid-19 by science) from China.  And how an AI alerted some agencies and businesses early to the pandemic, before it blew up and just a day after a now-deceased Chinese ophthalmologist tried to warn his med school classmates.

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How are you? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We love you.

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Singer, Songwriter, Scientist: Rosanne Cash

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What does Rosanne Cash have to do with science or medicine?

Sure, the American pop, folk, country, and roots rock legend isn’t technically a scientist.  But it was surprising for us to learn that Rosanne Cash has the soul of one within her, with its arms spread comfortably around her musician and poet souls.  When the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium reached out to the College of Medicine to let us know she’d be putting on a concert and might be interested in coming to speak on a panel, we had to dig a little deeper to find out about the connection.

Rosanne was diagnosed in 2007 with Chiari malformation with syringomyelia, a disorder of the skull which puts pressure on the brain and causes the cerebellum to protrude into the spinal canal.  It’s an incredibly painful, debilitating problem that is usually diagnosed in children, not in a woman in her 50s.  Her doctors gave her all sorts of diagnoses (some with a dose of condescension), until she diagnosed herself.  Even then, it took finding the right doctor to believe her to get her on the long journey to recovery.  The lessons of her identity and career-threatening condition are profound.

Then, too, there is Rosanne’s curiosity about music and the brain.  With MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M1 Alexa Schmitz and neuroscientist Justin Sipla, PhD she was fully on board for an often trippy exploration of how and why we are creatures of rhythm, the “sorcery” our brains use to fabricate meaning from vibrations in the world around us, and what an openness to shared experiences can do for medical students and doctors and their patients.

There are other connections to medicine.  The link between a performer being on stage for an audience and physicians performing a role for their patients are considerable, and the lessons Rosanne has learned about creating a shared experience between performer and audience are applicable to the relationship between doctors and their patients.  But there is also her desire to “keep a beginner’s mind” that every doctor should appreciate–cultivating one’s curiosity and understanding that “insecurity is part of the game” are essential lessons that could keep you from missing something important in patient care.


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$600,000 in med school debt?!

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shout photoListener Salutes McGee (not her real name) is planning on med school after her tour of duty.  What hard-won skills, she wonders, will transfer to medicine?  And Krystal writes in with her med school debt worries.  Will she need to plan to pay off $600,000 all in?  No need to fear, Krystal and Salutes, because M4s Liza Mann, Derek Bradley, Jessie White, and M2 Abby Fife are here to soothe your fears and answer your questions.

Dave quizzes his co-hosts on medicinal booze.  And And Dave heard from University of Maryland medical student and Elisabeth Fassas that she’d written a book published by Simon and Schuster’s Kaplan arm just before she started medical school last fall.  So as a bonus, he asked her for some tips on how you can set yourself up for a successful pre-medical experience from the very beginning.  Pick up her book, Making Pre-Med Count, at your favorite bookseller.


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This Week in Medical News

For the first time, lab-grown heart muscle tissue has been transplanted into a human patient.  And never mind coughing into your elbow or sneezing into a handkerchief; if you want to stop the spread of germs, just lower your damn voice.

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Are you (or do you know of) a medical student anywhere who’s done something cool like Elisabeth Fassas? Write to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Maybe we can help spread the word!

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Do These Things to Manage Your New M1 Life

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Study, but also make friends, join in, do things that give you joy, and keep being you!

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Listener Joseph starts medical school soon, and wants to know how to manage his new life as an M1.  Luckily Kylie Miller, Kalyn Campbell, Marissa Evers, and Erica Henderson (all veteran med students) can help, Joseph–bottom line, studying is paramount, but there are keys to success you need to remember.

Plus, we visit Yahoo Answers for some real-life health questions, including a couple that got Dave thinking about his own embarrassing problems.


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This Week in Medical News

Radiologists have begun to re-think something they’ve been doing to protect patients since the 1950s. The NIH and many others aren’t doing what they’re required to do with their research data, leaving important data unreported.  And for the first time, drug company executives have been sentenced to jail time for their roles in opioid addiction.

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Got a burning question for us about med school, being a doctor, or literally anything else? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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How residency programs misuse STEP 1 scores

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Residency Programs are Using Step 1 Scores Wrong.

From Andrea Ash’s research on Step 1 scores.

When listener Celebi Jigglypuff (yes, that’s a pseudonym) reached out to ask whether we felt taking Step 1 after a year of clinical rotations (as some schools require) was a good idea or not, we were prepared to sink our teeth into that and have a normal show, too.  But then, University of Iowa College of Education PhD student Andrea Ash happened to reach out to us because she’s been looking at Step 1 as a class project and was surprised about what she was finding.  Everything from residency programs using scores for an unintended purpose to a cut score far below the averages that students were obtaining to officials snarking about students who should be studying rather than having lives outside of med school.  And thus, Dave’s plans for the show were subverted for the greater good–a discussion on much of what’s wrong with this important exam that can affect a medical student’s dream specialty choice.

Is all hope lost if you score less than average for a given specialty? Certainly not!  These are averages.  But it’s a source of anxiety that to many seems unnecessary–maybe it’s long past time, they say, to make Step 1 pass/fail.  Of course, then residency programs would grasp for some other metric to use as a way to weed out their long lists of candidates, but we’d be happy to deal with that in a future show.

 


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Did you catch what started us talking about this week’s topic?  Celebi Jigglypuff’s question!  See why we love listener questions? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com and tell us what you want us to discuss on next week’s show!

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First author in an 8 week summer research project?

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Research takes time, so what’s a realistic outcome for the summer research student?

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Hurry up, science!

Pipette LeGogettuer (not her real name) wrote in to ask for our input on her summer research plans.  Not only is she struggling to come up with a project idea but she has very specific hopes for her outcome–first authorship.  Is that realistic? How can she find a project and someone who will sponsor her in their lab?  Don’t worry, Pipette!  Miranda Schene, Danial Syed, Art Thanupakorn, and Mahek Shahid–most of whom have done summer research themselves–have got your answers!

And Dave puts the crew through another of his ‘educational’ activities, a role playing scenario set in an operating room 100 years in the FYOOOTURE!


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This Week in Medical News

In Romania this past December a patient undergoing surgery for her pancreatic cancer caught fire during her operation.  And a study in JAMA Internal Medicine has found that old habits die hard, at least when it comes to giving pelvic exams and pap smears to young women and girls.

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Bonus Episode: The Lost Pre-Christmas Show

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[Here’s an episode that we thought was gone forever.  Dave claimed that to release it required extensive bitbashing by forensic data reconstruction specialists, but we suspect he just forgot it in his other pants.]

On a previous episode, M2 Mason LaMarche discussed a college friend who had a habit of sketching his bowel movements.  On this episode, his friend defends his artistic endeavor, while another LaMarche friend writes in with a question about mind over matter.

And the gang–Mason, and M2s Emma Barr, Nick Lind, and Sahaana Arumugam–tastes some treats from another land.  What does that have to do with med school?  I don’t know, cultural competency?


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This Week in Medical News

JAMA’s case study on frontotemporal dementia has implications for us in the Carver College of Medicine’s Writing and Humanities Program.  And Harvard geneticist George Church is creating a dating app to match people based on genetic compatibility…in other words, eugenics?

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What question do you have about med school, the application process, or your love life? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We love questions!

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Recess Rehash: How to ADHD in Med School

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Jessica McCabe and Kelsey Adler pose in the SCP studio

[Happy Holidays!  Dave is on vacation, but here’s a re-run to tide you over.  We’ll be back with new episodes starting 1/16] 

We on The Short Coat Podcast like to encourage people to follow their med school dreams in spite of whatever apparent obstacles stand in the way.  So when we found out that Jessica McCabe, host of the popular YouTube channel How to ADHD, was coming to the University of Iowa, we were excited to get her on the show.  And with co-hosts Irene Morcuende and Kelsey Adler–both successful medical students and ADHD brains–on hand along with CCOM learning specialist Chia-Wen Moon to prove that this obstacle can be just another bump in the road.  You may be surprised to hear how those with ADHD brains–and the groups they work in–can actually benefit from their atypical thought processes.

But what kinds of effects does ADHD have in med school?  What techniques have worked for Kelsey, Jessica, and Irene?  How do relationships suffer and flourish when one of you has ADHD?  What does a learning specialist do?  And how can medical schools support its students who need help?  All questions we discuss for you, Short Coats!


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Do you have ADHD?  What about a learning disability?  What are you struggling with, and who or what has helped you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.   Continue reading Recess Rehash: How to ADHD in Med School

Recess Rehash: Choose a Specialty, Choose a Lifestyle: Factors We Consider

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writer photo[Happy Holidays!  Dave is on vacation, but here’s a re-run to tide you over.  We’ll be back with new episodes starting 1/16] 

Short Coat Scribbleson Wordsonpaper (not his real name) wrote a paper for one of his classes, and was told it’d be worth putting it out there for publication.  But where, and how?  So we asked Writing and Humanities Program Director (and SCP exec producer) Cate Dicharry to give some guidance.  Scribbleson’s second question, about the lifestyle factors that medical students weigh when making a specialty choice, was a great one for co-hosts Mackenzie Walhof, Miranda Schene, and Abby Fyfe to dig into.

And Dave puts on his ten-gallon perfesser hat, offering up a pop quiz on the 2019 Ig Nobel prize winners.


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You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

what happens when you want to study pregnancy and other women’s health issues?  Yeah, your research proposal gets rejected because you didn’t include men among your subjects.  And an Oregon doctor finds out that he has 17 kids he didn’t know about from his time in medical school.

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What factors are you weighing to make your specialty choice? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Choose a Specialty, Choose a Lifestyle: Factors We Consider

Broadcasts from the amazing and intense world of medical school.