HouseJob Chronicles: What School Did You Finish From?

Hey folks,

First of all, this post is long over due. I’ve being working on the draft since like forever and even abandoned it at some point, cos no time.

So I have had a crazy few days post-leave. I’m so stressed out that I could use another break! Lol.

My face during Intern’s Pre-round…lol

I’m just glad I got to publish this, at last!

The post is especially for, but not limited to the Foreign Trained Doctors (FTDs).

My “brothers and sisters” from the diaspora, welcome back to REAL LIFE- Naija Version!

I’m sending you thousands of cyber hugs that will last you through the first few months of your House Job at least.


If you’ve passed through the MDCN hurdles already, you’d have observed that the system is NOT ready to welcome you with open arms. I’m not even kidding…

If you’re one of those patriotic FTDs (I’m not one btw🙄), who returned with high hopes of contributing your skills and expertise to the expansion of Naija’s health sector; I’m sorry to burst your bubble:

Whatever fancy reasons you had for returning to Naija, no one cares.

It is a sad reality.

But for what it’s worth, there are some great moments too. Like having patients discharged after spending days/weeks in the hospital or hearing an uncooperative patient Left Against Medical Advice (LAMA)…lol. I should do a separate post on that.

Anyhow.

So once you start your house job, expect to feel intimidated by your seniors. Naija doctors love to move STUFF. Eeesh!!

The million-dollar question that got my fellow interns tongue-tied, like we weren’t expecting it…lol! 

It wasn’t a funny scenario but I can laugh it off now.

The “Ogas” at the top love to deliberate on which is the best medical school in Naija, so they keep setting baits for house officers in form of questions, sane or otherwise.

Whether you are foreign trained or locally, you’ll experience this at some point or the other, although the former seem to be more at the receiving end.

Having passed through the initiation process of getting asked the same question multiple times, I have a few tips for upcoming House Officers:


1. OWN your identity.

You’re a MEDICAL DOCTOR, with a CERTIFICATE and a LICENSE.

So wear it like a cape. Be PROUD of it, because it’s who you are.

Embrace it. Love it. Live it.


If you schooled abroad, it was your decision, your money (whether sponsored or not) and your experience. Ditto if you were locally trained.

Even if studying Medicine was a mistake, it was the best mistake of your life.
Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you on it.
2. You have NOTHING to prove.

You heard that right.

There’s NOTHING to prove to anybody.

Not your skills. Not your knowledge. Not your personality.

What you know was enough to get you to this level. And if you build on your knowledge and skills, you can (and will) get better.

Remember, your senior colleagues (Regs, SRs, Consultants) did not get all their medical expertise during their housemanship year.

They earned it with time. Life takes time. 

So while there’s always room for improvement, you have NOTHING to prove.



Remember this.

3. Do it with JOY!

When all is said and done, what really matters is the impact you made wherever you find yourself.

So whatever you do, do it with EXCELLENCE. And COURAGE. And JOY.

Give the kind of care you would like to receive.


Put in your very best at all times, even when it’s hard. It’s okay to feel out of place sometimes but don’t let anyone (not even yourself) hold you back.

***

Image: http://www.eunicesmiles.wordpress.com

I’ve asked myself this question a couple of times, and tried to answer it as sincerely as possible:

My answer is YES.

And to add to that, given similar circumstances in the current Naija, I’d still study abroad and maybe the very school I attended. Tenkiu!



Cheers!

:::requ1ne:::

   ❤️❤️❤️
Disclaimer: All images unless otherwise tagged, were obtained from the WEB.

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WHY YOU LEARN THE WAY YOU LEARN.


During my undergraduate days, I had a classmate who often requested for my “jotter” a few days to our exams. According to him, I knew how to summarize and simplify my notes in such a way that anyone reading would understand. And I believe he had a point.

The first I heard of a learning model was from a friend, a couple of years back. He enlightened me on the difference between VISUAL and AURAL learners, and encouraged me to apply that to how I studied. Unfortunately, I didn’t give it much attention at that time.

Many years later, I would come across the V.A.R.K model of learning and found it quite enlightening.

In any classroom setting, from elementary level to postgraduate level, students receive, retain and retrieve information in different ways. And I believe medical students especially, would benefit from knowing how the learning models work since there’s so much to cover and so little time.

According to the VARK model, there are four types of learners:


1. VISUAL Learners.

I call them “The Scanners.”

These are the model students, especially in a traditional school setting. They don’t just read to comprehend, but seem to possess the so-called “Photographic Memory” and can reproduce the pages of their lecture notes or textbooks, word for word (sometimes with particular page numbers, no kidding!).

They enjoy studying long and hard, retaining most of the information they come across. They especially do well with Charts, Graphs and other Pictorial aids.

One morning while in medical school, we were having a discussion on the ward, and one of my colleagues was asked a question. When he started talking, it was as though an encyclopedia had been opened inside his brain. He just kept stating all the facts and figures while the rest of us gaped…lol.
Afterwards, our consultant looked at him and smiled, stating that he had a photographic memory and she knew he could actually picture the things he was saying. Needless to say, that colleague of mine was one of the smartest students in medical school.

2. AURAL Learners.

Aural learners are also known as AUDIO learners but I prefer to call them “The Crammers.

These are the students who simply pay attention during classes (with/without taking notes) and retain most of the information long afterwards. Some simply “Memorize and Recite” (i.e. CRAM) their notes and they are good to go.
Unlike the VISUAL learners, they don’t really need to study for long, although having group discussions are of great benefit. Still, a lot of them do well with last minute studying.

I had a roommate who would memorize several pages of her notes on the morning of an exam, and her results usually came out so well.
Another friend of mine who is now a doctor, said she only needed to attend (and listen well) in class, and without further reading, she would be able to sit for any exam. When I heard that, my respect for her grew by several inches…haha.

If I’m being honest I doze off or day-dream during classes more times than I’d like to admit. Long lectures are like music to my ears, and I often start drifting off before I catch myself.

3. READ & WRITE Learners.

I call them “The Stenographers.

This kind of learners love to copy everything that is said during a lecture. They afterwards go home to “READ and DIGEST” their notes, often breaking the notes into simpler and condensed versions to understand them better.

Such learners also appreciate Highlights, Mnemonics, Power Points and Summaries. Their goal is to be able to comprehend the material in its simplest form.

I happen to belong to this category of learners. I’m a COPIER by default and the only way I remember things (from class and especially in church) is by taking down notes. Even when there’s nothing to write, I doodle in my notebook, else my mind wanders off.

I remember one time a lecturer gave an impromptu test, immediately after his lecture, and I barely passed though I was sitting right there in the class. The reason was simple, I did not have enough time to “process” the information he had given before the test. In such scenarios, I rely more on residual knowledge.

For me, reading, then writing down notes, enhances comprehension. And if I’m reading something I don’t understand, I try to look it up, otherwise, I skip it.

4. KINESTHETIC Learners

I call them “The Demonstrators.

When it comes to learning, they are more practical than theoretically-inclined. These are the so-called Hands-on-Students.

In medical school they find most lectures boring, but rush off to dissect every cadaver that comes into the anatomy lab. When they start their clerkships, they can’t wait to examine every patient, set lines and insert urinary catheters. Ask them to state the differentials for a neck swelling and they draw a blank, but ask them to scrub in for a Thyroidectomy and they jump right in! 

***
What about HYBRIDS?

I believe most students learn by a combination of two or more of the learning models.

Personally, I learn the most by Association i.e. connecting multiple dots together. So it’s a little bit of what I see, what I hear and most of what I read. I’m not much of a hands-on-learner though. And it usually takes me twice the time my contemporaries take to learn a skill, whether it’s cooking Jollofrice or inserting a Urinary catheter! 😂

***

Do you know what learning model (or combination) you use the most?

Cheers!


Sources:

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/whats_their_learning_style_part_2_kinesthetic_learners
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/whats_their_learning_style_part_1_auditory_learners

:::requ1ne:::
❤️❤️❤️

50 Practical Ways To Stay Motivated In Medical School (A Recap):

Here’s a recap of the 50 Practical Ways you can motivate yourself through medical school. Feel free to check the links at the end. 


1. Discover yourself
2. Learn new skills
3. Take online courses
4. Avoid negative self-talk
5. Volunteer
6. Listen to good music
7. Watch Medical Shows
8. Start your own business
9. Keep a journal


10. Keep the end in mind
11. Find a mentor
12. Medical school is just a phase. It won’t last forever.
13. Quitting is not an option.
14. Cultivate healthy friendships


15. Find what works for you and make it work
16. Remember why you started
17. Expectations from Friends and Family
18. Eat healthy
19. Focus on becoming competent vs just getting good grades
20. Listen to podcasts
21. Don’t lose your Passion
22. Set Priorities And Rewards
23. Don’t sweat the small stuff


24. Faith in God
25. Set simple goals and achieve them
26. Be your greatest cheerleader
27. Learn to unwind
28. Volunteer to teach others
29. Seek help when you need it


30. You are not alone
30. Play Stimulating Games
31. Stay Focused
33. Ask Questions
34. Aim For Excellent Grades
35. Enjoy the learning process
36. Think Medicine, Think Prestige
37. Believe you can make a difference
38. Financial Sacrifices And Future Remunerations


39. Don’t Quit
40. Take it one step at a time
41. Start a Countdown
42. Share Your Story
43. Have a bucket list
44. Contribute on Social Media
45. Sleep well
46. Work It Out
47. Meditate
48. Cheer as others win


49. Reflect
50. Live, Learn, Love. Repeat.

***

50 Practical Ways To Stay In Medical School (Part 1)

50 Practical Ways To Stay In Medical School (Part 2)

– 50 Practical Ways To Stay Motivated In Medical School (Part 3)

50 Practical Ways To Stay In Medical School (Part 4)

50 Practical Ways To Stay In Medical School (Part 5)



Cheers,

:::requ1ne:::

❤️❤️❤️

50 Practical Ways To Stay Motivated In Medical School (Part 2)

You can read the first part here.

11. Find a mentor.

“Mentorship is about getting to know someone and learning how he or she finds passion in his or her medical career.” writes Marissa Camilon, MD. “As young learners, we are drawn intrinsically to passionate people; whether their energy is shown through lectures, clinical work or even in simple conversations.”

Not only do mentors give advice, provide encouragement, offer insight, and connect you to a wider network; they can actually provide you with the perspective needed to figure out some solutions on your own.

Read more on: The importance of having mentors in medicine.

12. Medical school is just a phase. It won’t last forever. 

Just think of all the hurdles you’ve crossed to get to this stage, the endless tests and exams you had to take before you ever qualified to become a medical student. So is the journey through medical school, it is but a fraction of what lies ahead in your medical career. Stay optimistic!

13. Quitting is not an option. 

“I’m fully aware of how rigorous medical school is, that prepares me to face any challenge during the course of study.” says Adarju, a medical student, who is also a spoken word artiste and a public speaker. Like the famous expression, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

14. Cultivate healthy friendships.

Keeping the right company in medical school not only improves your emotional wellbeing, it also strengthens your focus. Seek like-minded friends who have a similar passion for the journey. They will not only ask to hang out with you for pizza, they will also suggest sleepovers where you can study together for your next Pathology test.

15. Find what works for you and make it work.

“I studied myself, I’m a lecture kind-of-person, I learn more in class than when studying by myself. So I attended more lectures and studied minimally.” says Dr. Popoola.

16. Remember why you started.

For some it was the admiration for the likes of famous Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, while for others it was simply a deep-seated desire to make a significant difference in their community. Whatever your motive was for applying to medical school, don’t allow the pressure from the workload to kill your dream.


Read Ben Carson’s story here.

17. Expectations from Friends and Family.

When you have a great relationship with those who believe in your dreams and want you to excel, not only does their flow of support (whether through uplifting words, cash or gifts) boost your morale; you also do not want to let them down, which motivates you to even go the extra mile. Your support network can be your greatest cheerleaders while in medical school, and also for a lifetime. “There’s no one in this world who believed in me like my mum did, even when I didn’t believe in myself or my performance in tests or exams. She was just exceptional.” says Dr. Tamie.

18. Eat healthy. 

It’s no news that a lot of medical students barely have enough time to grab a cup of coffee, before they hit the ground running; And because of their fast-paced schedule, they mostly survive on fast food and energy drinks. The truth however, is that it takes a healthy medical student to become a healthy medical doctor, and a balanced diet not only increases your physical stamina, it also enhances your mental capacity.

You can read: 6 TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY ON A MED STUDENT BUDGET

19. Focus on becoming competent rather than just getting good grades. 

While good grades are important for you to graduate from medical school, you need more than good grades to become a competent doctor. So don’t be depressed because your grades are not so impressive, just keep working hard to become the doctor of your dreams.


20. Listen to podcasts.

Whether you’re interested in purely medical podcasts like EM Basic or you prefer a wider variety of topics such as TEDTalks, listening to podcasts is a good way to keep your motivation coming.

I hope these tips are helpful.

Cheers,

:::requ1ne:::

❤️❤️❤️

50 Practical Ways To Stay Motivated In Medical School (Part 1)

All medical students need encouragement from time to time; And staying motivated through the rigors of medical school is in itself a challenge.

From my experience and those of other past and present medical students, here are some practical ways to keep the motivation coming through medical school, which I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.

1. Discover yourself.

As a medical student, you’ve likely spent most of your life in a school environment (Elementary to College); now is the time to not just focus on your schoolwork alone, but also learn about yourself- your purpose, your values and your principles. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find out.

2. Learn new skills

Medical school opens a world of other interests to you, where you can develop new skills like writing, photography, baking, video editing, or music; plus the Internet offers you great DIY resources.

3. Take online courses.

It is true that you’ve chosen the career path of medicine, but there’s so much you can learn about other fields like the arts, humanities, social sciences or technology. There are a variety of free courses online that you can look into.

Try some courses for free here: Edx.org

4. Avoid negative self-talk.

There’s enough stress to handle already with the overwhelming work load in medical school and sometimes discouraging grades. It gets worse with putting extra pressure on yourself and criticizing every mistake you make.

5. Volunteer.

Volunteering especially for medical causes (health fairs, blood drives, health awareness campaigns etc) is a good way to feel invaluable while giving back to your community. You don’t have to wait until you graduate before you find some meaning in the medical path.

6. Listen to good music.

Good music is like therapy for your soul. You’ll have some low output days, and rather than allow yourself to sink into depression, why not listen to some cool beats with amazing lyrics? Music is a great tool for internal motivation.

Listen to this inspiring song: I’m a Winner(MTN Project Fame version)

7. Watch Medical Shows.

Medical shows are not only a (fairly good) source of medical information (think terminologies, procedures and diagnosis) and humor, they also fuel your passion for medicine. Grey’s Anatomy, House and Chicago med are a few of them.

8. Start your own business.

Even as a medical student you can become an entrepreneur; apart from the financial renumeration, it also gives you a sense of self-worth and personal satisfaction.

Cake by ADESUWA (A 3rd year medical student)

9. Keep a journal.

Having a journal helps to boost your morale when you reflect on how you overcame a previously challenging time; it also helps you to keep an account of your journey which will be relevant in sharing your experiences in future.

Read: Chronicles of a Student-Doctor (A medical school journal)

10. Keep the end in mind

 “For me it was mostly the thought of being a good doctor (that kept me motivated) says Dr. Johnson, “I was always like someone’s life is going to be in my hands one day and I sure want to be able to save…I don’t want to be the doctor that doesn’t know what she’s doing.”


I hope you find some of the tips helpful, you can let me know some other ways you stay(ed) motivated in medical school.

Cheers,

:::requ1ne:::

❤️❤️❤️

PS– If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

– 7 Strategies for studying in medical school

– 5 Tips to reduce stress in medical school

– 7 Lessons from medical school

5 Tips to reduce stress in medical school

It’s no news that scaling through medical school is challenging. Learning how to manage the stress that comes with it, is therefore a necessity.

Like I shared in an older post, a minimal level of stress, called EUSTRESS, is required for proper functioning in everyday life. When it becomes overwhelming however, it is known as DISTRESS which is counterproductive.

In this post, I have shared some tips that worked for me in managing stress as a medical student. I hope you find them helpful. 

1. Start each day with a plan
As a medical student, I usually planned my day using both a to-do-list and a schedule.

 A schedule is like a customized calendar that highlights specific activities for each day, especially those that demand a big chunk of your time (Eg Mondays for shopping, Tuesdays for taking out trash, Wednesdays for laundry, Thursdays for cooking, Fridays for blogging and so on)

A schedule helps you to manage your tasks, so that you can have sufficient time to get each one done, without neglecting others.
A to-do-list helps you to manage your time, so you get to maximize your day and account for every important activity. 

A To-do-list on the other hand, is like a reminder, that lists out everything you want to get done before the day ends. It’s important that you do not overload your To-do-list. As a rule I don’t put more than 10 goals to accomplish on my To-do-list everyday. 
Both are important to monitor your daily productivity, stay balanced and avoid crashing. To maximize them however, you need to apply the priority scale principle. 

(PS: Check this blogpost for what a priority scale is and how to use it).

2. Practice healthy habits

It is true that you become whatever you’re becoming. Work at becoming a healthy doctor. Don’t just preach it, practice it!

You know the rules.

Sleep well. Eat healthy. Exercise. Avoid alcohol. Drink enough water. Shun illicit drugs. Don’t indulge in unsafe sex.

They are quite simple really. But you’d be surprised at how many medical students break most or all of them.

The work is demanding enough, so you can’t afford to break down, not if you can help it.

Learn to take care of your body, so that your body can take care of you.

One simple advice, have your breakfast everyday!!! It’s a great way to avoid energy drain especially during ward rounds.

3. Make time for me-time



In other words, learn to unwind, relax and rejuvenate so that you don’t burn-out.

And if possible, have a “No-Studying Policy” for at least one day in a week. Sundays are perfect! Just take time off to take care of you.

You might like to stay indoors and get refreshed. For instance, I found out that taking a couple of hours at the beginning of the month to have a retreat was spiritually uplifting.
Or maybe you prefer the company of friends, think indoor games, movie nights, beach outings or even a boat cruise! 


And if you’re several miles away from home (like I was), hanging out with your homeys on phone or skype, will go a long way to relieve any tension you might have accumulated over some days. Having your support network (friends and family) around and allowing them to pamper you for a while, when you’re having a bad day is always a blessing. 

4. Attitude is everything

In this path you have chosen, there will be some tough times but you must learn to hang in there.

Learn the 3As of keeping a great attitude: Accept. Adjust. Adapt.

Accept the things you can’t change, adjust the way you respond to challenges and adapt by doing the best you can.

Your motivation is your responsibility. Find out what works for you and use it to your advantage.

As a medical student, I started a blog, practiced meditation and yoga, subscribed to podcasts/blogs, improved on my culinary skills, and read a lot of novels and other non-medical books. There’s an endless list of what you can do too.

5. Take one day at a time.
I can’t over emphasize this part. It’s understandable to think about what’s next after medical school, licensing exams, areas of specialization, and what not. If taken to the extreme however, it does more harm than good. Whenever you find yourself getting overwhelmed, try to declutter your mind and focus on what is right ahead of you – the next class, the next test, the next semester or the next clinical rotation.

Thank you for reading,

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy these:

7 Strategies for studying in medical school

7 Lessons from medical school

 Best wishes,
:::requ1ne:::
❤️❤️❤️

MY MDCN EXPERIENCE (Part 1): GENERAL TIPS 

Hello People,
This is for the Foreign Trained Doctors who want to take the Nigerian Medical Licensing Exam conducted by the Medical And Dental Council Of Nigeria (MDCN).

(Pls note that the exam is applicable to both citizens and non-citizens of Nigeria).
Having successfully participated in the last licensing exam that took place at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), I will share a few helpful tips:


1. Resume the MDCN remedial course early and learn your ropes quickly. The earlier you get settled into the program, the easier it will be for you.
2. Know how to take the routine vital signs (BP, RR, PR) and the normal values across age groups. It’ll likely be your first test, and if you’re on point, you’ll be the BOSS.

3. Be confident and always say what you know. Silence is assumed for ignorance. Even when you’re not sure, just say something.

4. Guys, don’t forget your ties. Without it, you don’t belong on the ward. Come along with your ward coats, scrubs (preferably green if you’ll be in LUTH) and name tags too.

5. Malaria and TB are super high yield. Learn all you can about them beforehand.

6. Revise your history taking and physical examination skills ( especially CVS, RS, ABD and CNS). You’ll be glad you did.

7. Stand TALL, let no one intimidate you. Bad belle people dey Naija. They don’t really like how you went to spend “their” dollars abroad 🙄🙄

8. Don’t go solo, your colleagues will usually know something important that you don’t know.

9. If you could scale through medical school (no matter where you studied) you can survive MDCN. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Image credit: WEB

10. Pray without ceasing. It is NOT a Joke!


Cheers!
:::requ1ne:::
❤️❤️❤️

For more information about MDCN, please visit www.mdcn.gov.ng

DAY 13: TGIM!!!

Welcome back,
It’s the start of another working week.

Image credit: WEB

And I hope you’re EXCITED.

For a lot of people, Mondays are dreaded…it marks the beginning of another stressful week.


Most folks are like, “can I have an extra day to just chill, please?”



Haha
.
To be honest, I get that feeling sometimes too.

But today I’m thankful for Mondays and for every day I get to make a difference.

Because what I do matters and sometimes I forget that.

It’s easy to feel pretty overwhelmed by the sheer pressure and stress of work that I’m not mindful about how I’m making the world a better place.

Medicine to me, is more than a Profession,
It’s a Passion to see people live whole, mentally, socially and physically.

The Hippocratic Oath

For me having a medical degree is a Privilege I do not take for granted, and it’s humbling when patients listen to me as I share my medical knowledge with them.

I know I’m no genius, I’m who I am by God’s grace. 

Ultimately, it is God who heals.

I’m especially grateful because what was once a dream, is today a reality.

God brought me from here,

That tiny girl with a timid face
To this point…

The confident doctor with a cute smile


He makes dreams come through. 


I may not always feel like it but I’m committed to not just the Hippocratic oath but God’s word:

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV

I’ve been given a trust and I must prove faithful. So help me God.

Again, thank God for Mondays.

Image credit: WEB


In whatever job you do, don’t just leave with a paycheck, leave a legacy.

  • Be Passionate
  • Be Proactive 
  • Be Productive 


For you trusting God for that dream-job or the next phase of your career, don’t stop believing, don’t stop persevering…

And if you already have that dream job, remember you’re there to make a difference. 

So keep your dreams alive, the world needs it.

Image credit: WEB

What are you thankful for today?

***

Know anyone interested in studying medicine at an affordable price?

What’s more, they can get help in securing a scholarship. 

For details visit: www.studymedcaribbean.com 



***


Stay fervent,
:::requ1ne:::

7 LESSONS FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL

Hi Everyone,

I have decided to share with you the top 7 lessons I picked from my journey through med school. The lessons are not just specific for medical students though, anyone can apply them to any phase of life they are in.

1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.

Have you ever asked yourself “what do I want out of medical school?”

It’s not enough to have the desire to become a doctor. You have to know why.

For some, it’s the admiration for famous Doctors like Ben Carson, and for others it’s the motivation to contribute to the cause of humanity e.g. finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Whether your purpose for deciding to become a doctor is simply PASSION or PRESTIGE, or a combination of both, take some time to reflect upon it, and know if your goal is worth the effort. Trust me, you’ll need this at some point in your journey. 

2. DISCOVER YOURSELF.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you a morning or a night person? What motivates you? What distracts you? These are questions you have to answer. Self discovery is one of the most reliable tools for success. As important as it is to learn from people’s experiences, there isn’t much room for trial and error in med school. So discover what works for you early and go for it.  


3. GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT.

No student should be an island. The med school curriculum can be tough. It’s ok if you don’t understand a particular concept in Biochemistry or you find it difficult to set an IV line. You’re not alone. 

That’s why you have your colleagues and seniors. Most of them are ready to help you because they were likely in your shoes at some point too. 

Ask until you understand the what, why and how of your question.

You’re in school to learn and that’s exactly what you should be doing at every opportunity you find. 

Ignorance is sometimes pardonable but arrogance is not. Don’t allow your ego to rob you of your dream.

4. ENJOY THE LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOOKS.


My Biochemistry Lecturer quoted this phrase almost after every Friday class. The point is Med school can be all-consuming and is very time-demanding, but it’s still the most flexible period you’ll get, compared to other phases in your medical career i.e. Internship and Residency.  

Be careful not to trade what’s IMPORTANT to you, for what is URGENT.

Don’t miss out on ALL other interests because of medical school, you may never have some opportunities again.  

The key is BALANCE. 

5. RUN IN YOUR OWN LANE.

In med school, you’ll meet some high-flying students. Since it’s typically a gathering of the best among the rest, be careful that you don’t get intimidated by other people’s accomplishments. Whether in the classroom or on the ward, there will likely be students that perform better than you. The key is to focus on your journey and not theirs. You are not sure of their destination. 

6. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.

Success is a PERSONAL affair but self-criticism paralyses. 

That you’re not seeing results doesn’t mean you’re not putting in efforts, maybe you just need more time than others to get it right. Patience is the key to facing the challenges you will encounter. 

One of the factors that motivated me during med school was seeing myself doing things I had challenges with initially. I’ve learnt how to be patient with myself over time as I learn new things.

7. YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR GRADES. 

This is so IMPORTANT. Unless you’ve got the genius gene, chances are you’ll face some discouraging bumps in your grades, despite your best efforts sometimes. Don’t let that stop you from reaching the goal. I had some really depressing scores a couple of times, but I had to keep going by faith.

 Failure is just a bend, it is not the end of the road. Keep moving!

One of my favorite mantras was: “WITH GOD, MEDICAL SCHOOL IS DOABLE.”
And Glory to God, I conquered it.


I hope these tips help.

Thank you for reading!

:::requ1ne:::

Chronicles Of A Student-Doctor #12

CHAPTER 12: PSYCHIATRY POSTING.
And to the last of my clinical postings, welcome to the Psychiatry department.

A place of several tales, some sad, some strange and others absolutely shocking.

Psychiatry was a bitter-sweet experience for me. It was the one post I excitedly looked forward to, telling all that cared to listen that I knew what I wanted and I was determined to embrace it.


For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by mentally-challenged individuals, whether in literature or on the roadside. I often wondered how some people ended up becoming weird, homeless, unkempt or completely dysfunctional. While most people would see such individuals and turn up their nose in disgust, I would often take a second or third look at them, and imagine if they have any family or home to call their own.
Medically speaking, the factors that lead to mental (and specifically Psychiatric) impairment, can be genetic, neurologic, environmental, or a combination of these.

On the other hand, some indigenous folks (at least where I come from), believe that mentally-impaired people might actually be demon-possessed or under spells. Of course, it seems a ridiculous way to think but cultural/religious sentiments have a way of shaping our perspectives.

As a Christian, I believe that demons do exist but I also know that mental health has remarkably improved through medical care over the years.

So all through my medical school journey, I really looked forward to my Psychiatry posting.

I mean I’d liked the idea of Mental Health for years, and Clinical Psychology was one of my favorite subjects during my pre-clinicals. Even before I completed my Secondary School Education, I already had much interest in Psychology. And because I wanted to study Medicine, I decided I was going to become a Psychiatrist. Hence my fate was sealed (or so I thought), until I actually started my Psychiatry rotation.

Despite the pep talks my colleagues who had done the rotation ahead gave to me, I wasn’t prepared for my encounter on that first day…
The Mental Health institution in SVG is situated apart from the General Hospital, and is currently (temporarily) located in an area called Orange Hill, which is along the countryside.
The institution which is more of a community than a facility, gave patients the privilege of roaming the immediate neighborhood with little or no restrictions.
On my first day there, we went in to see the female patients. I was stunned to say the very least. All I saw basically was a sea of faces staring mindlessly about, with some out of touch with reality. How could anyone live this way? I wondered. I left the place all sobered up and emotionally drained.

As the days progressed into weeks, I got to know a number of the patients and their story. We followed up some of them repeatedly in the outpatient clinic and what an experience it was.

The cases we saw ranged from mild/moderate depression to cognitive impairment to acute manic episodes to chronic schizophrenia to parasuicides, and the likes. And some of their stories would always remain with me. One of such remarkable cases was that of Ms. X:

Ms. X was a known patient with Bipolar disease who was admitted to the Casualty department during an acute manic episode that was triggered by an emotional experience. I had never seen an adult throw such tantrums before. This patient was hyper, continuously jerked her limbs against the bed restraint and cussed loudly. It was quite a sight. She was later transferred to the Mental institution. Over the next few days, and after a number of medications, the patient significantly returned to baseline.

Despite the emotional circumstances, Psychiatry posting was an adventurous ride for me. I got the opportunity to travel to parts of the island I had never been to. There was a community outreach where we had to visit patients in different villages like Chateurbelair, Rose hall, Troumaca and Spring village. Those areas were on the leeward  part of the island.



We also had occasion to hold outpatient clinics in Stubbs and Georgetown which are in the windward side of the island, as well as the Prison.


My Preceptor, Dr. K. Providence, an amazing woman dealt kindly but firmly with all the patients. According to her some of the patients can become very manipulative and threaten the caregiver. The most difficult patients to deal with are usually those with criminal charges. They are prone to take the “victim stance” where they make others think they are being victimized. This was especially common among the prison inmates.

We learnt how to take Patient history, do the mini mental status exam (MMSE), PHQ-9, CAGE questionnaire, BECKS Depression inventory, and other forms of assesment. We were taught to be confident and empathic while handling difficult patients.

My colleagues were fun and supportive. The interns, nurses, social worker, counsellor and clinical psychologist made a good team to deliver care to the patients. This was important because many of the patients we saw had social issues as well e.g. Lack of employment, drug use (Marijuannna especially), alcohol abuse, lack of finances, domestic abuse, homelessness and social stigmatization.

Aside the emotional demands, Psychiatry also gave room for lots of adventure. I saw new places, met new people and learnt new things too. And I took lots of pictures too.

My paddy and I…

Studying during my Psychiatry posting was perhaps the most interesting. I used Lange Q&A (Psychiatry), PRETEST for Psychiatry, Kaplan step 2 videos and Paul Bolin’s YouTube videos for Psychiatry to study. Any material on Psychiatry with DSM V criteria updates, should serve you well.

And to the big question. Would I be interested in pursuing Psychiatry as a speciality? I like it enough in theory but I’m not sure I can handle the clinical aspect, so I honestly can’t tell yet. So fingers crossed until then…✌✌

Kudos to all the Psychiatrists out there. Thank you for making a remarkable difference in people’s lives.

Thank you for reading,

:::requ1ne:::

PS: Here ends the Chronicles Of A Student-Doctor posts. I appreciate all the feedback and support I got. I hope I can share aspects of my post medical school journey with you in subsequent posts.