medical

The importance of blood donation

Blood donation is one of the most important necessities in a hospital. Donated blood has many uses. It can be used in standard procedures or it can be used in ambulant help. Even though it’s on of the biggest necessities a lack of blood donors still occurs in many different countries.

Why is it important to donate blood?
It’s used in many surgeries, even in accidents people are often in need of blood which is provided by blood donors. Due to various reasons people don’t want to give blood or they’re not allowed to give blood. This can cause a lack of blood donors and therefore a deficit in blood supplies. Giving blood keeps the chain going and is therefore important!

Who can donate blood?
People aged 17-66 and have a BMI within range can donate blood. Before the blood donation you’ll see a doctor who will ask you some questions about your health. This is to make sure that the blood you’re donating is ‘clean’.
There are a lot of rules that need to be taken into account before giving blood. Depending on where you’re giving blood you’ll be able to check the conditions online.

Note: if you’re not able to donate blood, you might still be able to donate blood plasma as it doesn’t contain red blood cells. Blood plasma is then used to treat people with coagulation diseases.

Where to donate blood? 
There are donation centers where you’ll be able to donate blood. You could also donate blood to a local hospital.
In America there are two main blood donation centers the ‘American red cross’ and ‘America’s blood centers’ where you can donate blood. In the U.K. the blood donation happens via NHS.

I hope that I’ve informed you about blood donation. As usual make sure to check with your GP before donating blood. This is to make sure that you’re not harming yourself or someone else by donating.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you’ve donated blood before in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

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One year blogging and going strong!

It’s been exactly one year since my first ever blogpost and I wanted to talk about blogging in general and the amazing things I got to learn from medical students around the world. I never thought I would reach anything or anyone with this blog. I made this blog to take others on my journey to becoming a doctor and to show all of the amazing things I get to do as a student. There is most definitely not enough appreciation for the amazing opportunities we get in and outside our classroom.

I want my blog to inspire med/premed students or anyone to start a blog. You can never imagine how many amazing things you’ll get to experience while having a blog. This blog has in the short span of a year given me the opportunity to virtually meet other medical students and talk about subjects that are often taboo or subjects that we’re not familiar with. It gave me the opportunity to get to know medical students all around the world.

I also learned a lot of things that I haven’t learned in my textbooks. I learned more about mental health, about the amazing charities that are making a difference every day. I also read a lot more books and expanded my view on life.

I also started using social media more often! You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not an avid social media user but I try to upload from time to time!

This blog and this year have been a great adventure so far and I couldn’t thank you guys enough to come on this journey with me. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did and that I was able to teach you guys some things along the way or just inspire you to study med or start a blog.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

World mental health day

It’s world mental health day and I thought it’d be nice to talk about mental health today as a lot of people struggle with mental health. I would like to emphasize that I’m not a professional (yet) so if you’re having any health issues I’d advise you to see a GP.

There are a lot of mental disorders. The biggest issue medics are facing is that diagnosing mental disorders is difficult because there’s still a lot about the human brain that we don’t know about.

It should be no surprise to you but mental health for example depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia actually affects millions of people all around the world. Mental health is very diverse and there are a lot of different disorders. Did you know that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 teenagers(!!!) will experience some kind of mental health problem during their life. In Britain. Mixed anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders.
I decided that it might be interesting to leave a blogpost I read today. It’s written by Katie Conibear who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She has a great blog which you can see here.

What I loved most is that you can get involved with some amazing fundraisers and activities that the mental health foundation organizes. I thought it would be best to leave a link to both – American and English – foundations. You can find a lot of information on their sites AND you can find out how you can make a difference!

United Kingdom
The United States
Also check out Twitter!

It’s time to change the mentality we have when it comes to mental disorders and illness and I hope that this post is a step in the right direction.

UPDATE: I’ve read some amazing posts since it is world mental health day and I’m going to share a few below hoping that they might help you!
Tips & advice 
Tips to help yourself or others
A playful article about crafting
Poetry
And more poetry
Sean’s testimony

Lots of love!
-A doctor in spe

Anatomy videos

While I was studying for my anatomy course past year I must admit that I had a hard time. Anatomy is one of those courses where you need to get a lot of information in your brain in a short period of time. What helped me most, especially for anatomy, were videos. There are obviously a ton of videos online but these were the ones I found most useful because they helped me visualize the material and they contained a lot of mnemonics.

1. Medzcool
I loved the mnemonics that were used and explained in these videos. Especially for the cranial nerves. If you prefer other mnemonics than the ones mentioned in the video, check out the comment section!

 

2. Dr. Preddy
Give this man an award asap! If you don’t have enough time to learn all the arm and hand muscles this is your man! He is able to teach all of the arm muscles and their innervation in two brief videos! These videos are filmed by students but they’re useful nevertheless.

Arm muscles part 1
Arm muscles part 2

3. AnatomyZone
The youtube channel of anatomy zone contains almost all information about myology! These videos show our muscles from all angles which helps to memorize origin and insertion points. These also give a good image of the location of each muscle, artery and vein.
There is also an AnatomyZone site where you can find all of these videos for free you can click on the link to check it out!

I hope you enjoyed this post and found these tips useful. Medical students often rely on tips coming from fellow medical students and having a lot of tips definitely makes a difference when it comes to studying effectively. If you have tips that are helpful to study anatomy (or other courses) leave them in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

 

SYNAP – reblog

Today I wanted to share Synap with you. It’s a fairly new concept and as a medical student I can do no more but to promote amazing work other medical students are able to put out there. Synap is one of them. You can find all the information regarding Synap down below or on their blog.

REBLOG: Synap is an online education platform created by two medical students – James Gupta and Omair Vaiyani – to make studying easier. Synap lets you create, practice and share Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with your friends.

We have a huge range of practice questions and exam banks for doctors, nurses, dentists and physician’s associates – including some premium content provided by Oxford University Press written for final year medical exams, and the specialty board exams such as MRCP, FRCA, FRCP and MRCS.

To learn more about how Synap works, check out the short animation below!

 

What I loved most about Synap is that it’s an interdisciplinary site so it’s not only great for doctors but also for nurses and dentists!

Thanks for passing by! If you enjoyed this post check out SYNAP via links above and let me know in the comment section what you think of it!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Prepping and how I study

I’ve already talked about my improved study techniques but today I’m going to talk about the three things that made the biggest difference in my results!

1 Preparing notes ahead

When i go to lectures I make sure that I’ve done everything ahead of time. If i don’t i’m just waisting my time and the professors time. Preparation is key. I like to make notes ahead of time and take those to class. Some people prefer reading through their notes, I do this when I don’t have enough time to type out my notes but this works great as well.

Along with this I reread all of these notes while going home. I take public transport so I often wait for my bus or metro. Those 5 minutes make a difference. It’s small but all small bits help! The time I need to get home varies but I spend an average of 1hour to 1hour30 to get home. Instead of waisting i try to benefit from that.

2 Visuals (other sources)

For medicine looking out for other sources is a good way to look at your courses differently. Especially if you don’t know the difference between things that are more important and things that are not. I watch a ton of videos and if there are things in my course that other videos emphasize on it means that it’s probably quite important. I personally loved ‘Shomu’s biology’ on youtube because he’s able to explain quite difficult concepts in an easy way.

3 Reading

Not only reading through your own course or textbooks but using other medical books is a great way to retain difficult topics. Different books often explain concepts differently and that is something that may or may not work for you.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Let me know what your tips are in the comment section down below.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Changing my study method

The new school year has begun for some of you and I wanted to update you on my new study method since it might help you! I’ve switched it up quite a lot and I’ve finally found a good way to make sure that I know my courses better. Since courses in med school are quite voluminous having a good study technique really makes a difference. I make sure that during class I write down what’s important. I follow the slides that are projected on a big screen and make sure that I listen to what the professor says. That way I can understand the most important concepts in our books.

The studying process is something that’s often pushed back to the weekend. Before studying I read my notes and then start. Everything in these courses is valuable information and needs to be known. There is no such thing as more important/less important (unfortunately 😦 )! Instead of just using one study method I now use a combination of different techniques. This helps me to make a difference in concepts I fully and concepts that need more time.

First method: there are parts of my books that I read multiple times and make sure that I understand what I’m reading. This doesn’t take a lot of time and I do this multiple times per day or even per week to make sure that I still know what the course is all about.

The second method that I like, is making question sheets on a part of my course. I make these sheets for parts of my course that I have trouble memorizing and I’ve noticed that this technique forces me to really actively read and my notes. I only do this for several parts of my courses because writing questions down takes up time.

Last but not least the third technique I use is making resumes of my printed notes. I personally don’t advise going for this technique in med school. I feel like while making these I’m not actively thinking about the subject I’m studying. Making resumes doesn’t only take a lot of time it makes you have less time to revise and consolidate the information – this technique didn’t work as well for me as the other two techniques but I do like to make these before going into my classes.

The key to these techniques is not about the time you put in making them. It’s about actively making them and thinking about everything that’s important. Active studying is more efficient and will help you memorize everything faster.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what study technique you prefer in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Book review: The man who mistook his wife for a hat

I recently red the book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ written by Oliver Sacks, a British neurologist. Oliver sacks is quite a famous writer, he has written 14 books of which 7 were made into a movie. This specific book was written in 1985 and it consists of 24 cases in which different neurological issues are being discussed.

Summary
The book is divided into four categories that each talk about a specific neurological issue. Part one deals with losses, part two with excess, part three transports (about perception, imagination, dreams,…) and part four the world of the simple (how ‘simple’ people understand remarkable concepts).

I’m going to talk about one of these stories because it stood out to me. It’s the story of Jose, the autist artist. This is written in chapter four – the world of the simple. Jose was a 21 year old male who was said to be retarded and had seizures which caused him to be hospitalized. During his examination he was asked to draw a pocket watch which he drew remarkably well. Dr. Sacks was amazed by this and wanted to learn more about this patient. He wanted to see more drawings and asked Jose to draw some more and again his drawings were really nice.
It appeared that Jose was indeed autistic, but that he was quite talented. He could draw, remember what he drew and he was able make adaptations to his drawings.
This story definitely stood out for me because it just goes to show that there is a whole world to people that often stays unnoticed, even for many many years.
The drawings are included in the book but I wanted to show you an example. On the left we see the picture, on the right the drawing that Jose made.

Schermafbeelding 2017-07-30 om 10.08.55
There are many more extraordinary stories written in this book. It’s an easy read making it is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. Difficult concepts are all explained in the book making the book fit for anyone interested in knowing more about brain related issues.
For those wanting to learn or read more about neurological problems, there are also a lot of references to other scientifical books. Especially Loeria (neuropsychologist) and Jackson (neurologist) are writers who are often referred to.

For me this was such an interesting book that I was able to finish it within the day. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly advise you to read this book.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Medical stationary gifts

I recently saw a picture on Instagram that had bone balpens and while I was searching for these I came across these amazing school/college supplies. Most of these would make great gifts and they can be found on various sites such as Aliexpress, Amazon and Etsy. So without further ado here are some great gifts for medical students.

gift renew.png

1. Sticky notes
I found these great sticky notes on Amazon, these are pricier than your regular sticky notes but they’re unique and quirky. There are quite a few options to choose from so definitely check these out!
Link: Amazon

2. Memo holder
This is definitely the most unique gift out on this list. It’s a brain shaped memo holder made out of concrete. These are made in the Netherlands and you can find these on Etsy or on the manufacturers site.
Link: Manufacturers site
Link: Etsy

3. Pen
A funny gift for students who are tackling anatomy and learning all bones in the human body. These balpens are quite affordable and can be found on Amazon and on Aliexpress.
Note: since Aliexpress can sometimes be unreliable I’ve tried to filter out two companies that have sold the most and had the best reviews.
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Amazon

4. Erasers
I found these cool brain shaped eraser tops on Amazon but you can also buy these on Etsy. They come in different colours and are a great addition to your medical stationary.
Link: Amazon
Link: Etsy

5. Tape
I never knew about DNA tape but it’s a clever take on regular tape. You can use this to decorate your note books. This tape also comes in a spinal tape version and you can buy both of these together on Amazon.
Link DNA tape: Amazon
Link spinal tape: Amazon

6. Markers
These come in many different shapes but two stood out to me. The first were pill shaped markers. I personally loved these from Amazon because of the bottle they came in.
The second shape were syringe shaped markers which you can find almost everywhere.
Link pill markers: Amazon
Link syringe markers: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed this stationary as much as I did! Let me know in the comment section which stationary item you liked most.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

When breath becomes air 

I’ve tried re-writing this one a few too many times but that’s only because I felt like this review didn’t do justice to the book. It still doesn’t but here we go.

The book ‘When breath becomes air’ is an autobiography written by Paul Kalanithi. It’s the story of a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He starts thinking about ‘living a meaningful life’ and he wonders what it takes to achieve one. As he starts cancer treatment he tells about his struggles, his thoughts and his feelings.

The book is magnificently written and it’s ending is bittersweet. It’s book that definitely deserved the attention it got. There were a lot of things I loved about this book but I mainly want to talk about what I learned from it.

  • I learned that life is short, full of unexpected things sometimes the worst things in life come together with the best and if you’re lucky you’ll be around to see the good. If not it’s up to you to create good things in the middle of bad ones!
  • I learned that humans often live life as if life is endless. We even postpone the thought of death itself until someone around us dies. When you think about it there isn’t a single person in the world who is completely ready to die at any given day. There is always something more we want to do, something more we want to realize.
  • I learned that when bad things happen and we get knocked down, we need to keep going and keep pushing.
  • I learned that the best way to live a meaningful life is to give it your absolute best every single time no matter how hard life gets. It’s often easier said than done but it’s all we can do.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a remarkable story that left it’s imprint on me and I’m sure that you’ll find it as special as I did.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe