Everyone knows: doctors have to have empathy…right?
Listener Mo wrote to us at email@example.com to ask us if a lack of interest in dealing with the foibles of patients–with their anti-vaccine beliefs, their non-compliance with treatment, and reliance on the latest internet fads–means he should reconsider his med school dreams. Lucky for Mo, Kaci McCleary, Irisa Mahaparn, and newbs Melissa Chan and Dabin Choi were on hand to propose some paths forward for non-empathetic med school applicants, as well as outlining some of the less obvious areas empathy comes in handy they might want to think about. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in this area…but there’s a little, and maybe Mo can squeeze into those cracks and come out with an MD on the other side.
This Week in Medical News
Is the ubiquity of IV saline an example of institutional inertia? And in response to this article, the gang explores the institutional and systemic barriers that AMCAS and some schools’ admissions committees have erected against disadvantaged students.
We Want to Hear From You
Are you a disadvantaged applicant worried about your grades, money, and connections? Tell us your story at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Med School Requires Sacrifice…but not of everything.
Listener Arman is starting school this fall, and is feeling something many do at the start of this journey: that in order to succeed, he’ll have to do nothing but study. Will he’ll have to sacrifice his outside interests to succeed? Kylie Miller, Matt Wilson, Teneme Konne and Patrick Brau admit that medical students love to talk about how hard it is and how much time they give to their new lives. To be sure, sacrifice is a part of learning to be a doctor. But they do have reassuring words for those who worry their identities are about to be ransacked. Plus, Yahoo! Answers leave us with more questions than we started with…like, did the fruit fly regain consciousness?
This episode is all about false dichotomies–situations or ideas that seem like dilemmas (and thus require a difficult choice to be made) but which really aren’t. Much of the public discussions of things like the hours that residents work, the funding for medical research, the lifestyles that residents are forced to lead, the choices that prospective medical students make are couched in terms of either/or choices. Corbin Weaver, Matt Wilson, John Pienta, and Kaci McCleary discuss the alleged dilemmas that we encounter in medicine and medical education, and conclude that these choices are often not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have both shorter hours and safer patient handoffs and quality education, despite rules that seem to indicate otherwise. It is possible to adequately fund basic science research and fund a sensible national defense, despite presidential budgets that slash NIH funding. Should listener Justin study during the summer prior to med school to begin medical school on the right foot, or will he struggle if he takes a break to live a little? And listener Julian is super annoyed at the admissions process. Is his ire justified? Listeners, share your thoughts and questions with us each week. Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time.
On a recent show, Dave opined that shaving one’s armpit hair might cut down on deodorant failure, and a listener called into vindicate him, much to Mark Moubarek’s shame. Another listener, PharmD and author Tony (he’s written a book you might want to try if you’re looking for “a relaxed approach” to memorizing pharmacology), wants to know how a medical student gets to the point where they can be confident enough to say to a patient, “There will be no problems.” Mark, Amy Young, John Pienta, and newcomer Julie Gudenkauf weigh in on the acquisition of confidence and the art of reassurance.
Listeners, we’d like to know something about you. Post a photo of your listening environment anywhere you can use #shortcoatpeeps. Just watch those reflective surfaces, m’kay?
Russo and Rob Humble marked the end of their first year on today’s show with Kaci McCleary, with a look back on what they’ve learned about being a medical student that they didn’t know on the way in. We clear the docket with a couple listener questions that have been hanging fire, starting with listener Claire who writes in to ask: when it comes to choosing a medical school, is a prestigious school somehow better than the others? Do they open doors for their graduates, and is sacrificing oneself to the gods of hard work in favor of those opportunities a good idea? We are, of course, happy to advise her. Another listener question, from Jennifer, asked about the career opportunities available to MDs who also have a Master’s of Public Health degree. Again, happy to help!
Poor lister Erin. She writes to let us know she can’t find the first 44 episodes of the show, now that she’s listened to all eighty(!) of those available on iTunes. We explain how she can fill the sad hole in her life this tragedy has left. Dave’s shower thoughts lead Aline Sandouk, Amy Young, Marc Toral and Kaci McCleary to discuss the utility of giving not a single feldercarb what people think of you. On the flip side, an article in the New York Times offers a peek at what can happen if you go from not caring (or even knowing) what people think to caring all too much, when transcranial magnetic stimulation suddenly enables an autistic man to understand what others are thinking of him. Continue reading Sudden Empathy, Too Much Empathy, and A Lack of Empathy→
Listener Oscar called in to find out what should he do about his case of nerves now that he’s been accepted to medical school, and Lisa Wehr, Aline Sandouk, Marc Toral, and Dylan Todd have plenty of calming words for him. They also discuss the statistics of 2016’s Match, why some people don’t match (do whatever it takes, ethically, to get good exam scores, people), and what people who don’t end up matching can do with their MD. Some schools have even begun offering built-in backup plans for those folks.