When Life Is Getting In the Way of Med School: the Value of the Tactical Retreat.

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Save Your Resources to Fight Another Day

TL;DR

  • Medical school is all-consuming, but sometimes you need to take time to deal with the slings and arrows of life.
  • Don’t be afraid that you’ll jeopardize your career by taking a leave during medical school. Better to do it before your situation causes harm to your test scores or grades.
  • A Brown University study finds that schools are failing in their diversity goals for admitting URMs.

Poking around on Reddit’s r/medschool, Dave found a rather desperate message from an M3 who’s life is collapsing around him–death, marriage troubles, family illnesses, and all at the same time. so much so that Dave fears their progress might suffer. Is it time for what a military commander might call a “tactical retreat?” Note: Dave isn’t really sure of the technical definition of a tactical retreat, but let’s just say it’s about stepping back and conserving your resources until the situation becomes more favorable to your goals. It’s a metaphor, go with it.

And co-hosts Aline Sandouk (MD/PhD), Nicole Hines (M1), AJ Chowdhury (M1), and Miranda Schene (MD/PhD) discuss the disappointing news that medical schools have made negative progress in attaining diversity goals for students underrepresented in medicine, despite years of effort.

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Hot Takes: Dr. Marty Makary dissects the US COVID Response, and he isn’t happy

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We were too slow, too cautious, and too “old-guard” in our responses to COVID

TL;DR

  • Guest Marty Makary condemns the old way that healthcare responds to current events.
  • Sticking to the clinical trials process and a reluctance to use the knowledge already available from Chinese doctors slowed US responses and killed people.
  • “We had terrible medical leadership throughout the pandemic, and I think it’s good for our leaders to show some degree of humility to say, look, we consistently got it wrong.”

This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a company just for medical students and doctors. Check them out!

New York Times bestselling author and Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary returns to the show to just blast US healthcare and medicine’s response to COVID. The flip-flopping on mask effectiveness, the distribution of vaccines, ignoring the role of natural immunity of people who were infected and survived, insisting on a two-dose vaccine rollout instead of first getting everyone vaccinated once. All of these decisions were slow, ill-considered, and in some cases theatrical rather than scientific. Even Fauci got it wrong! *gasp*

Join MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, and M1s AJ Chowdhury and Rick Gardner as we dissect the chaos. The paperback edition of Dr. Makary’s book, The Price We Pay, includes an update that discusses COVID’s implications for the business of healthcare.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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HAVING BABIES IN MEDICAL SCHOOL

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Raising babies in med school is possible, with careful thought and lots of help

TL;DR

  • The choice to become pregnant in medical school is always a difficult one to make, considering the time constraints and the physical toll it can take.
  • Raising a kids in medical school is perhaps even harder, as even if things go well in the pregnancy, now you’ve got little humans to learn about, protect, and enjoy (and miss out on, sometimes).
  • In Part One of this three-parter, we’ll lay it all bare for you–what’s it really like to raise a family while learning to be a doctor.
baby photo
It’s a good thing they’re cute, cause they’re going to screw up your carefully constructed life.

Rising M4 Nick Lind is taking over for Dave this week for this special episode devoted to parenting in medical school. Nick is taking an elective dealing with that very subject, and he’s invited classmates Mackenzie Walhof and Chris Schanbacher as well as CCOM grad Dr. Michael Haugsdal to talk with him about the challenges students and residents face when they decide to grow their families despite already being engaged in one of the most difficult and time-consuming things a person can do.

This is part 1 of a multipart series that Nick is putting together for his elective project, and we’ll have more discussions on this topic in the weeks to come. In Part 2, The Short Coats will dsicuss how medical schools can and are supporting student parents; and in Part 3, we’ll hear from the spouses of medical students.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Practicing Humanism when patients Doubt Your Motives

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Humanism isn’t just for the good days.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, member FDIC. Hope you’ll check them out!]

Rick Garner, AJ Chowdhury, Alex Belzer and Eric Boeshart are on hand to discuss our recent celebration of humanism in medicine, along with a speech by Dr. Nicholas Mohr in which he mentioned that for the first time this year his diagnostic skills were questioned for his political motives.

And the gang plays Psych! with Dave for reasons that he obviously made up.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Recess Rehash: DROWNING IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

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Doing stuff outside of your coursework is fantastic…until it isn’t.

explosion photo
Actual photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle in use.

[Dave was suddenly called home for a family emergency, so no recording this week. Enjoy this rerun, though!]

Listener Tasneem Ahmed–a fourth-year medic at London’s King’s College–joins MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M4 Holly Conger, and M1s AJ Chowdhury and Alex Belzer on the show. She wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com because she wanted to talk with us about those times when extracurricular activities are too much of a good thing. These activities are important to both schools and students as a way to convey and learn vital lessons about service and career opportunities. But there is a temptation to overdo it in an attempt to distinguish oneself as a competitive applicant. Take that far enough, and it’s a recipe for exhaustion and burnout.

We also take time to compare the two systems of medical education, dance on the grave of Step 2 CS, and cover the most important story of January 2021: Gwyneth Paltrow’s exploding vagina candle.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Hitting the Wall, Then Scaling the Heights

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The M1 Wall is Real. You’ll Probably Have to Climb It.

TL;DR

  • Taking the med ed bull by the horns in a purposeful way will get your through one of the toughest moments.
  • Given any definition of “success,” a medical student who succeeds in medical school engages “like they paid for it.”
  • The definition of “success” doesn’t necessarily include honors grades or high scores. If you choose what it means, you will succeed!

Today’s show is sponsored by Panacea Financial, the digital bank created for doctors, by doctors.

You can choose your metric for success!

After hearing of a student’s struggles with the M1 wall–that point students get to when they’re exhausted, questioning their choices, and worrying how they’re going to get through this–got Dave thinking about the various ways medical school challenges the psyche. Whether it’s suddenly bumping up against ones’ limits, realizing some disturbing aspects of the hidden curriculum, or grappling with doubt, medical school is a real beast.

It’s not uncommon to feel alone when you hit the wall. Everyone around you looks cool…but are they really? When you decide to open up about your struggles, what if no one reciprocates? And in a world where not everyone is above the very-high mean, what does it mean to be below average? MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk and Miranda Schene, M3 Nick Lind, and M1 Eric Boeshart have all run into the wall, and are on today’s show to tell the tale.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!


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Table Rounds: Gamifying Med Ed, ft. Paulius Mui, MD

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How Gaming Can Help You Learn Medicine Better

TL;DR

  • Rote memorization is part of medical education, but drawing deeper connections between concepts is what makes you a physician.
  • Medical school emphasizes finding the correct answer, but when you begin to practice medicine you’ll find that the answers are much more complex than that.
  • Although moving from med school to residency can be scary–as with any transition–Paulius found it to be easier than he expected.

Dr. Paulius Mui is a first-year family medicine resident in Virginia, and a long-time listener (since before med school!). He wrote to Dave not long ago because he had published a game called Table Rounds. It’s a game he and his friends in med school had made up, and now he’s working to bring it into the world as an actual product.

Paulius sent Dave a copy of the game [for free, he’s not a sponsor. –Dave], and M1s AJ Chowdhury, Alex Belzer, Nolan Redetzke, and M4 Joyce Wahba play the game. Players use cards–each with a medical term or concept on it–to draw connections between them. The connections can be deep or they can be spurious, but if you can make your case you’re a winner. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a game that you can make your own, coming up with rules that make it even more interesting and helpful.

Paulius also gives his advice to Joyce, who’s about to start her residency in Emergency Medicine, and discusses his first-year as a resident beginning while the pandemic raged.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!


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The New Medical Student: Tips and Tricks from First-Years

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A new group of co-hosts, all M1s, discuss what it’s been like to start medical school (in a pandemic).

TL;DR

  • We discuss what our new co-hosts, all M1s, learned about themselves and med school this year.
  • Did they prepare or study before they started school in the fall?
  • And very important: what flatulence schedule would they prefer?

Steph Rodriguez, Zain Mehdi, Martin Goree, and Carl Skoog are approaching the end of that stressful first year of medical school.  Dave seized the opportunity to talk about the things many incoming students might want to know about starting medical school in the coming year.  We talk about whether to prepare before school starts, what sacrifices they feel they made to study medicine, what they’ve struggle with and what was easier than expected, and whether in the midst of a lot more online learning than they were used to, did they find their people among their classmates.   

Dave likes getting to know people, so he also posed some Would You Rather questions in the hopes of revealing things about his new co-hosts.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Requiem for a Meme: Yahoo! Answers will close

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Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

TL;DR

  • Should Victoria also get a law degree to facilitate a career in health policy?
  • Shea sends feedback on our recent discussion of options for unmatched MD Seniors
  • We practice answering patient questions with a straight face by visiting Yahoo! Answers for what might be the last time!

The Big News in medical education is that a valuable resource for practicing patient interactions and understanding their concerns is shutting down. That’s right, Yahoo! has decided to shut down it’s beloved, if deeply sad, site that allows people like Dave to post their urgent health-related questions. Will they flock to Quora? Who knows, but for now M4s Sophia Williams-Perez and Marisa Evers, M3 Annie Rempel, and M2 Eric Boeshart celebrate its impact on medical school podcasts with some new questions and revisit some old favs.

Listener Victoria writes in wondering whether an MD/JD degree is right for a health-policy focused career. We can help, and we start by noting that no-one has signed up for this dual degree option at our school in several years.

And listener Shea fact checks (with love!) our recent discussion of options for unmatched senior MDs.

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How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

What an AI thinks we said `

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Is Your Affective Presence Killing Your Dream?

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You can have the best scores and grade, but personality counts

TL;DR

  • Affective presence is the lasting and stable impressions your interaction partners get from you.
  • Your scores and grades only get you in the door.
  • It’s your personality that makes you a medical student, and later, a doctor.  So make sure you’re giving off the right vibes!
  • Listener Kalmen reminds us of a paths for some students who don’t match.

Dave continues his ruminations about why a very few people don’t match into residency.  He thinks that some of those people (who weren’t the victims of luck or strategic errors) were burdened by a negative affective presence–the feelings that others have about interpersonal interactions with them.

Which brings up (at least) two questions:  how do you know if people have a negative impression of your affective presence?  And even if you do notice, how do you fix it?  M4 Holly Conger, M3 Emma Barr, and M1s Albert Pedroza and Rick Gardner help him hash it out.

And reacting to Dave’s other concerns about graduating students having additional paths if they don’t match, listener Kalmen writes in to theshortcoats@gmail.com to point out that some states do have such a path.  These states offer licensing for so-called associate or assistant physicians. Aside from the confusing name of this kind of practitioner, Dave is down with that because he just wants everyone to be happy.  But many–including Holly–aren’t so sure.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!  And remember that we livestream every recording on our Facebook group, The Short Coat Student Lounge.  Join us and help us with our discussions!

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