medical

Medical school 2nd year

I’m halfway through my second year of medicine! My exams are done and I’m going to take a short break before getting into the new semester. I have one week before the second semester starts and though I really hoped that I’d have a week off to do fun things and sleep out my week will consist of finishing a paper. I wanted to talk about this first semester of my second year since it was completely different from first year.

-I learned that first year is a breeze compared to second year. It’s easy to say that now that the two biggest blocks of my entire year are over. To all you first-year students out there, these courses only get bigger every single time.
-Never give up. By now medical school consists of really pushing mental boundaries. Though most people give up, those who persist and don’t give up are the ones that will make anything happen.
-The best tip I’ve ever had was to read all of my courses completely through before exams start. This helped me to at least grasp what I was studying and I had a better total-image of my courses.
-Working consistently throughout the year is really important. If you don’t do this by second year, you’re going to get into trouble. I worked consistently throughout the year and still struggled extremely hard during this exam period.
-Workout, you’ll feel more energized and more focussed.
-Treat yourself to a pampering day. I did this once in the two exam-months we had. It can be quite time consuming, but makes you calmer at the same time. So if you can, pamper yourself.

To all students out there I would also like to say the following: it’s often the things that you struggle with the most that end up being the most rewarding. Try as hard as possible and don’t give up! Hard work always pays off.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

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Junior doctor this is going to hurt: summary and book review

It’s been a while since I’ve done another book review. I read the book ‘Junior doctor, this is going to hurt’ one week ago and the book stayed with me for quite some time. The book was written by Adam Kay, an English gynaecologist. He has written some short diary-type stories about his life as a doctor. This specific book was a Sunday Times bestseller and has received quite some good reviews.

Summary
The book is written in a diary entry style. Every inquiry has a date. The author talks about how the life in a hospital goes, how on one moment he’s still a student and then goes on to have responsibility over someone’s life. The book is raw and honest. Maybe a little too honest at times.
The author describes many cases in which he did what he ought to be right. Staying late after hours, doing overtime, going against his mentors wishes. These are all things that doctors experience on a daily basis but often fear talking about.
The ending however really made an impact. Especially after reading everything the author has gone through, has done.

Opinion
I loved the book but in a way I felt like I was more aware of the lack of compassion for doctors. It’s as if doctors are being pushed into staying late, doing extra work without any communication. There isn’t enough help going from one doctor to another. The ending was quite unexpected and I never expected that even in the worst of situations doctors really don’t have a safety net.
The reason why I loved the book, was the author himself who was able to let his personality shine through. The diary style writing just put more emphasize on how ‘close’ you actually get to the author. It was because of the connection you got with the author, that the ending just made it more painful.
The book made a political point towards the NHS. So I’d specifically recommend this to English medical students as health systems vary across countries.

I hope you liked this book review. Definitely go out and read this book you will not regret it! It’s a book that comes closest to the life in a hospital. It shows the good and the bad times. Also let me know in the comment section what books you’ve liked in 2018.

Lots of love
-M. A doctor in spe

Happy new year!

I wanted to wish all of you a very happy new year and take time to thank each and every single one of you, my readers, for becoming a part of this journey. As for the journey itself 2017 has been more than I could ever dream of! As you might remember I did a one year anniversary blogpost where I talked about the amazing opportunities I got this year and today I wanted to highlight some of the best blogposts published in 2017.

The best blogposts of 2017

  1. Medical tag
    One of my biggest accomplishments this year was creating the medical tag which has been done by many medical and premedical students all over the world. You can find videos about the medical tag on youtube, wordpress and bloggr. I’m just mindblown!
  2. World mental health day
    This year I also wrote about mental health which is an issue a lot of people face with but never really follow up on. I urge you to take mental health issues seriously and go see a professional! You should never be alone when facing issues with your mental health!
  3. Medical compendium
    You might have seen this on my instagram page but these amazing books were published not long ago. They contain the essence of medicine. Currently they’re only available in Dutch but they might be available in other languages in the future.
  4. Book review: the subtle art of not giving a fuck
    Some people might remember this as I’ve recommended this book to everyone I know! It’s about living your life and not caring about other peoples opinions. A must read!
  5. Cold shower challenge
    Quite surprised that you guys liked this post so much! The cold shower challenge was fun to. It has many health benefits such as better focus, better metabolism, better immune system. This would be a great new years resolution!

This includes 2017! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and I wish you and your families an amazing and extraordinary 2018 filled with happiness and courage. Remember that you have the power to make anything you want happen if you put your mind to it!

Happy new year to you all and lots of love!
–  A doctor in spe!

Medical article databases

One of the most important fields in medicine is research. This should come as no surprise as there’s still so much to learn about the human body and disorders related to it. As a medical student it’s extremely important to stay up to date and read in on these subjects and to learn more about the (r)evolutions in our health system.
There are a lot of databases where you’ll be able to find articles on medical research and today I’ll be talking about the best general databases.

1. Google Scholar

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Google scholar is most definitely the best way to find the most scientific articles on any subject. You’ll be able to view the number of citations (a value to determine the impact) as well as the journal where the article was published and the publication year.
There is one thing I dislike about using google scholar. The filter system is quite impractical. Nevertheless you’ll be able to find a lot of articles extending over many different scientific topics. Google scholar will also show the number of citations, journal where the article was published and the publication year.

2. PubMed

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PubMed has a lot of different features and therefore learning how to work with the system is a challenge on itself. You’ll have to navigate your way around MeSH-terms and the search builder, subject topics etc, however when you finally know how to work with it, it’s actually a pretty nice database to work with.
You will definitely not find as many articles as you would in Google Scholar, however there is a good amount of articles that are closely related to your topic of choice. The filters are easy to use and will help you to narrow your topic down more clearly.

3. Embase
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One of the more esthetically pleasing databases is Embase (yes, I really like Embase). It’s easy to use and works similar to PubMed but you search via Emtree terms instead of MeSH terms. You can view your previous search inquiries and the amount of articles related to it.

4. Extra
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I also wanted to talk about Web of science where you’ll be able to find the impact factor, the number of citations. This is an easy way to have an overview on the importance of your article as well as the journal it was published in.

P.S. I prefer to use general databases as they offer a great variation of articles but if you only want to read the most important articles on certain subjects you might want to take a look at different options such as Medline, TRIP, Cochrane etc.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what sources you turn to to find scientific articles.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe

 

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

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