medical school

medical school

9 Things Nurses Do — And Why You Should Appreciate Them


Nursing is often an under-appreciated profession. While nurses spend more time on average caring for their patients than doctors, they often take home significantly less pay. About 89 percent of nurses feel ineffective in their work due to indifferent or argumentative physicians and staff, and most nurses rarely have enough free time to eat healthy meals or sleep soundly more than three nights a week.

Despite all this, nursing remains one of the most attractive careers for people looking to contribute meaningfully to society. Nurses are amazing workers who provide infinite amounts of care to their patients and society in general. To prove the point, here are nine common activities you didn’t know nurses do.

1. Collect Patient Histories

Whenever you visit a doctor’s office or hospital, before you are admitted and taken to an exam room, you usually fill out a few forms inquiring about your recent health. Though the doctors may glance at this information for a quick background, most of your history goes straight into the minds of the careful and caring nurses.

2. Perform Physical Exams

In the past, the physical exam was strictly the realm of doctors. Because it requires the careful measurement of dozens of vital signs — including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiration rate — the physical exam was one of only a handful of methods doctors could use to diagnose disorders. Today, with technology like blood work and scanning, the physical exam is no longer held in high esteem, and it has been relegated to the duty of nurses. Read the rest of this entry »

Half of Med Students Experience Burnout

med-studentA new study finds that more than half of med students experience burnout, which in turn leads them to engage in unprofessional behaviors when working with patients. The study was conducted by the Mayo Clinic and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study found that stressed-out med students were unlikely to engage in academic dishonesty, but were prone to take short-cuts in patient care. “Although students recognize cheating and dishonest clinical behaviors as unprofessional, feel guilty about engaging in these behaviors and believe that the behaviors make them a less trustworthy physician, a relatively high prevalence of unprofessional conduct related to patient care was reported by students in this study,” wrote the authors.

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At UCLA, Teaching Doctors with Art

Artist: Daphne Hill

Artist: Daphne Hill

Second year students at University of California, Los Angeles take a break to visit an art exhibit. The show is titled “Venereal Narratives and Other Cautionary Tales,” created by Daphne Hill, and features colorful collages that combine images of romantic couples and the microorganisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases. The show is part of a project that tries to teach medical students about the importance of showing compassion for their patients. “We’re learning about infectious disease right now, so this exhibit is really humanizing,” said medical student Lauren Wolchok. The artist describes her work as a way to deal with her fears about infectious diseases.

In order to prevent medical students from beginning to see patients as  “subjects,” rather than people, the initiative was developed by artist in residence Ted Meyer and Senior Associate Dean LuAnn Wilkerson. It features a series of exhibits at UCLA’s Learning Resource Center. “The Doctoring Program is already about learning how patients experience illness,” Wilkerson said. “Doing this requires really being able to see life from a different perspective.”

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NYU Med Students Get to See Patients on First Day

doctor med schoolWhen you think of first-year medical students, you probably think of them listening to lectures, jotting notes about diseases and dissecting specimens in a lab. Not long ago, you would have been right. Medical students had to wait until their third year before they could see patients.

That’s not the case at New York University School of Medicine. Students get to see patients on their first day of class.

“I am possibly the worst patient in the world to have,” an H.I.V.-positive tuberculosis patient said to the first-year medical students in an NYU lecture hall as they attentively scribbled notes. “I thought I had the common cold. It went on for months.” Read the rest of this entry »

Get into Medical School Without the MCAT

medical studentIf you’re planning on going to medical school then plan on taking organic chemistry, physics and the Medical College Admission Test, also know by its notorious acronym, the MCAT. That is, unless you apply to the Humanities and Medicine Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, located in Manhattan.

The medical school has roughly 35 openings a year for undergraduates who studied humanities or social sciences instead of the typical hard-science pre-medical courses.

Those accepted to Mount Sinai forgo organic chemistry, physics, calculus and the MCAT. Instead, these pre-med students are briefed in both physics and organic chemistry during summer training operated by Mount Sinai. To get in, they must have a certain SAT score, provide two well-written personal essays and meet certain high school and college G.P.A requirements. Read the rest of this entry »

Foreign Medical Schools are Just as Good as American Medical Schools

When you are sick and have to go to the hospital, you want to make sure you receive the best possible care, right? Let’s say that you have a choice between a doctor who went to med school in the U.S., and one who went to med school in a foreign country. Which one is going to give you better health care?doctor xray

Surprisingly, a recent study showed that there is not a relationship between where a doctor went to medical school and the quality of patient care he/she gives. The study was conducted in Pennsylvania and analyzed 244,153 people who had been hospitalized for heart attacks or heart failure. The study compared the length of hospital stays and death rates between foreign-trained doctors and doctors who were trained in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be a Pre-Med Major

Should you major in pre-medicine? Well, here’s the thing: in most schools, you can’t. The so-called pre-med major is actually a set of courses that all students need to take if they want to get accepted into medical school. Students take these classes, along with a major of their choice.

The standard pre-med curriculum consists of the following classes:

  • At least one year of general biology
  • At least one year of calculus (Calculus I and II)
  • At least one year of general (inorganic) chemistry with lab
  • At least one year of organic chemistry with lab
  • At least one year of physics with lab
  • English composition

If you want to get into medical school—which is extremely competitive—you need to have an outstanding GPA. In particular, it’s essential that you get very high grades in the pre-med curriculum. How high a GPA you need depends on the strength of the rest of your application, but 3.5 is generally seen as the minimum.

So what should your actual major be? Does it need to be in a related scientific area, such as biology or chemistry? This is something that experts disagree about. Some say there’s an advantage to majoring in something unique, like French literature or music. Since most med school applicants major in a science related area, this will help your application stand out in a competitive pile of applications. Some argue that there’s an advantage to having a background in humanities or liberal arts since, after all, being a doctor isn’t just about science. It’s about dealing with people.

However, other experts say it’s better to stick with a traditional science major. In med school, scientific knowledge is going to benefit you, so why not get as much as you can as an undergraduate? Moreover, the pre-med requirements overlap with the requirements of just about all science majors, so you can save time with one of these majors. In addition, some feel that because science majors tend to be more demanding, a high GPA in science major looks better on an application than a high GPA on a major that’s easier (or at least is perceived to be easier).

Although opinions differ on whether you should major in science or not, technically it doesn’t matter. As long as you take the pre-med curriculum, you’re eligible to apply to medical school. If you have a stellar GPA in both your major and your pre-med classes, you’ll be in decent shape, no matter what.

Keep in mind that if you want to go to medical school, you’ll be expected to do some serious volunteer work at a hospital, a clinic, or some other medical facility. Schools prefer to see students who have committed to one volunteer assignment over a significant period of time. In addition, many students get some research experience with professors as well, and this also looks great on an application.

One of the most important things you can do is get yourself a good pre-med advisor. Although most schools do not offer an official pre-med major, many do offer pre-med advising programs. An advisor will be able to help you maximize your chances of getting into med school by taking the right classes and getting the right volunteer experiences.

Good luck, future doc!


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