The Business of Medicine

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Should medical students learn more about the business of medicine?

Medical school definitely hasn’t made a priority of teaching about how medicine works as a business.  MDs who get involved in that side of healthcare typically learn on the job. But recent caller Ryan is interested in that topic, and wanted to hear from us about what CCOM students are learning about it.

A couple years ago, M4 Joe Nellis and some other students founded the Healthcare Management and Delivery Science Distinction Track.  One reason was that their families had questions they couldn’t answer about the topic.  They also knew that decisions about healthcare delivery and outcomes evaluation were being made without MDs having a clear idea (or even input on) how and why.  Joe and M2s Philip Huang and Amanda Manarot got together with Dave to talk about what they’ve learning on issues like teamwork, e-health, data and decision-making. And while the healthcare leaders of tomorrow still have to learn much of the biz after they leave medical school, having a fuller grasp of the forces that affect how medicine is practiced is key, especially as the private practice of medicine gives way to employment in hospitals and other organizations.

This Week in Medical News

Dave took issue with this article which posits that doctors’ salaries are a problem for healthcare costs, despite the fact that according to the author’s own figures, that amount makes up about 1/32 of the cost of healthcare per US household.

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Do you want to learn about this stuff?  Or are you content to worry only about taking care of patients? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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“I’ve Got Some Bad News”

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Delivering bad news is an art.

uh oh photo
Photo by Powerhouse Museum Collection

When  many people think about becoming a physician, they focus on the positive side of the practice of medicine. Things like diagnosing and successfully treating patients, forming therapeutic relationships, and even income and prestige get most attention.  But there is one thing that receives less attention: sometimes, doctors deliver very bad news to their patients.  Learning how to do that gracefully in a way that supports patients rather than devastating them is an important skill.  And in a team-based environment, it can be tricky. So, M3 Mark Moubarek shows M1s Joyce Wahba, Gabe Conley, and new co-host Claire Casteneda the ropes.  Of course, Dave devises an educational exercise to “help.”

This Week in Medical News

In other bad news, it’s not getting any easier to get into medical school…in fact, it’s getting harder.  In the last decade, applications have doubled for top 10 schools focusing on primary care, and others (like Iowa) have increased 1.5 times.  Time to be interesting, applicants!

We Want to Hear From You

Are you doing something more interesting than checking off the boxes on your medical school application? We definitely want to know about it.  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  If you’re doing something really interesting, maybe we’ll interview you on the show!

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Reaffirming points of pride, and life in rural Iowa

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We’re Iowa proud

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Photo by cwwycoff1

Dave has been noticing a certain mid-semester droopiness among some students at the College of Medicine.  Perhaps, he conjectured, we all need a bit of a pick-me-up.   So, Levi Endelman, Issac Schwantes, and new co-host Derek Bradley share things about themselves of which they are proud.  Issac isn’t much impressed by Dave’s point of pride.  And the boys reminisce about their rural Iowa upbringings, from careening over the ubiquitous gravel roads to romancing atop grain elevators.

This Week in Medical News

Vox has begun collecting data from ER visitors on the resulting bills, so the American Hospital Association issues a warning to its members.  And the US opioid epidemic is finally a national emergency, officially.  Will the president’s latest proclamation have any effect?  Will the American taxpayer get its $57,000 worth?

We Want to Hear From You

What do you do when you’re academically down in the dumps?  Do you take your cell phone to the bathroom?  Admit it! Show the world you aren’t afraid of its judgement by calling us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Med School Medicine vs. Real World Medicine

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In migrant health clinics, the ideal world of medicine goes out the window.

In Iowa and many other states, migrant workers are a big part of the economy.  Many of these people don’t have time for and can’t afford regular medical care.  But leaving them without care isn’t an option, either.  Fortunately, there are organizations which engage with this population. The Carver College of Medicine, for instance, has a very strong emphasis on learning through serving the medically underserved.  By setting up migrant health clinics where those workers live–in their often temporary and extremely basic housing communities–students can learn about the practice of medicine outside a doctor’s office or hospital while bringing badly needed healthcare to those who’d otherwise forgo it.    Second-year med student Jesse White suggested a show on working with these populations.  Joined by fellow second-year Erin Steele and retired Physician Assistant Peg Bouska, we discuss the non-ideal world of practicing medicine without the right spaces, equipment, systems, and tools…and what students learn about medicine by doing so.

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Is learning through service important to you?  What experiences have you had with service learning, and what did you learn? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’d love to hear from you.

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Alumni Visit

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A visit with those who made it through med school

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Med students’ secret weapon. Photo by Pseph

Alumni Nate Curl, MD (emergency medicine, ’07) and Cathryn Turner (pediatric psychiatry, ’10) returned to the Carver College of Medicine last week to attend The Examined Life Conference Jason and Dave put on every year.  It was a great opportunity to connect Levi Endelman and Matt Wilson with them for a discussion of their paths to med school, the kinds of experiences they’ve had since graduating, and some of the things they’d like to have done differently.  They also helped answer a listener question from Mary, who is concerned about what she’s heard: that self-care–eating healthy, exercise, etc.–in medical school and beyond is well-nigh impossible for such chronically busy people.

We Want to Hear From You

What concerns do you have about entering medical school? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’ll try to help.

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Planning Now for MD Happiness

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Can You Plan Now for Happiness Later?

happiness photo
Photo by ecastro

Once you’re on the path to doctorhood, it can be hard to step off.  You’ll probably be happy…but what if you find out you’d rather just skate?   Sure, you’re making money, you’re an important part of the medical profession, you’ve got this under control…but there’s something missing: happiness, satisfaction.  How can medical students prevent happiness from not happening?  How can anyone?  Eric Snieders, Brady Campbell, Erica Henderson, and Marissa Evers take the example of San Diego’s local hero Slomo (former neurologist John Kitchin) as well as the apparently happy lives of hunter gatherers and residents of Norway, (but perhaps NOT the residents of the US of A) and try to think about what will keep them happy as they wend their way through the medical industrial complex.

This Week in Medical News

Thinking about tattooing your eyeball?  No?  Hmm, weird.  Well, a Canadian model would like you to think again…especially if you’re planning on having your boyfriend do it.  You’ve been warned.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you eyeing a tattoo?  Got one you want to show us? We want to see it!  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Pets in Medical School

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Is having a pet while you’re in medical school a good idea?

Dave’s gotten a few requests over the years from folks who want to know: is it a good idea to have pets while you’re in medical school?  And Dave also has co-hosts who wanted to talk about their pets on The Short Coat Podcast.  Now, Dave isn’t a pet kinda guy, but luckily he went out of town and Kylie Miller was able to take over the mic.  Which means that finally, after all this time, some med student pet owners–Kaci McCleary, Vic Hatcher, Tim Maxwell, and Lisa Wehr–were able to get together with Kylie to talk about the challenges and rewards of having a fur baby while working through medical school.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you worried about having a pet while studying medicine?  Or are you completely unconcerned? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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The Donors Who Get No Plaques Or Portraits

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Deeded Bodies: Medical Students’ First Patients

donor photoDonors are very important to universities and medical schools, typically contributing money to further the educational mission.  Often, donors get a plaque on the wall, and some even get whole buildings named after them.

But we’re also grateful for the donors who get no plaques and whose names aren’t widely known:  those who, after they pass away, donate their bodies to medical schools so that students can use them to learn. On the afternoon of the CCOM Deeded Body Ceremony, Patrick Brau, Mackenzie Walhof, Brady Campbell, and Reed Johnson reflect on the nature of this gift, what it has meant to them, and some of the unexpected things they learned.

This Week in Medical News

Scientists were surprised this week to find out that jellyfish sleep, perhaps just like we do…which is weird because you’d think that sort of thing would get them killed.  And in the spirit of the season (interview season, that is), we discuss evidence for why you probably shouldn’t have your med school or residency interview at 30,000 feet.

We Want to Hear From You

Would you donate your body to a medical school? Why? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Rejection Happens

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“When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.”
― Kelly Cutrone

reject photoEuthalia (not her actual name, though it probably should be. Feel free to take that name, anonymous caller) called us at 347-SHORTCT to express her sadness that she didn’t get a secondary interview at Iowa.  Which sucks for Iowa because…well, we might not get to meet Euthalia.  Of course, she knows rejection is not the end of the road for her dream. Brett Hanson, Tony Mai, Patrick Brau, and Levi Endelman share some things she needs to do now to deal with it, and to prepare her for the next time she applies.

Euthalia might be feeling anxious, a good bet because just about everyone we know has anxiety up the wazoo.  Luckily, Dave heard about a study in which subjects were able to decrease their anxiety by talking to themselves in the third person.  This seemed like a good idea, so we gave it a try.  Warning: you might want to turn down the volume.  Or unsubscribe.

This Week in Medical News

The Endocrine Society has new guidelines for how young transgender kids can begin hormone therapy.  And, to the surprise of no nurses at all, nurses in some places have more dangerous jobs than prison guards and police officers.  Be kind to the nurses, doctors.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your rejection stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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How Premeds Find Their Med Schools

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Finding the Med School You Want to Attend

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Hello, I’m not @$!@#$ing interested in your grades! Photo by JSF539

Among the biggest projects  premeds face: not just getting into medical school, but getting into one that meets their needs.  Do they want a school strong in service learning activities?  Will they be happy in a system that recognizes academics first and foremost?  Is the location more important than other factors?  These are only a few of the factors that go into the decision…and Dave’s co-hosts couldn’t care less about them.  There were only two things that once-premeds-now-M1s Kyle Leubka, Gabriel Conley, Joyce Wahba and Eric Schnieders were most interested in.

Listeners Ryan and Michelle called in to pitch show ideas.  Ryan wants a show about Technology, Business, and Policy (he’s a podcaster at the University of Pennsylvania medical school…check them out).  And Michelle wants to know whether her currently well-cared-for Husky will survive having a med student owner.  Watch for future episodes, guys!

We Want to Hear From You

What topics would you like to see us tackle?  Do you have any strongly held criteria you’re using to judge medical schools? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Broadcasts from the amazing and intense world of medical school.