Revvin’ Up The Momentum

And just like that, my Surgery rotation has come to an end! This marks the completion of my sixth rotation of third year, giving me only two more four-week rotations to engage in before I start my fourth year!

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I’m definitely starting to feel the end-of-the-year momentum! Also, with Match Day having occurred just this past Friday (shoutout to all the soon-to-be doctors across the nation!!), it’s starting to really hit me that at this point next year, I’m going to find out where I’ll be spending the next few years of my life! Having now attended the Match Day ceremony here three different times, I’m really looking forward to finally having my moment of truth on Match Day 2019. It’s so wild and so exciting at the same time!

Now to quickly recap on my last week of Surgery. I spent the majority of the week in the O.R. with various Anesthesia residents and attendings. While with them, I was afforded the opportunity to assist the staff in Neurosurgery, Interventional Radiology and Cardiothoracic operations. I also learned a lot of good information from them while we monitored the operations and saw some incredible procedures that I would have otherwise never been able to witness in person. When I wasn’t in the O.R. working with the Anesthesiologists, you could find me actively preparing for the Shelf exam while trying to get my life together. The exam itself started off tougher than I had expected, but then after about 20 questions or so I found myself finally getting into the groove of the exam and it became easier to answer the barrage of questions that were thrown at me. I hate it when the first questions end up being some of the hardest ones…it can really throw off your confidence and slow you down drastically. Thankfully, I ended up being able to power through it with adequate time left at the end to review my unsure answers! Overall, I think the exam went okay and I don’t have any regrets about my preparation for it, even though there were some questions on the test (WHAT A SURPRISE) that I would not have been ready for no matter how much I had studied…but I digress.

As always, I’m looking forward to being able to start off a new rotation! This rotation will be Family Medicine, which is going to be primarily an outpatient experience, meaning that I’ll miraculously won’t be in the hospital for a month. That’s pretty wild to me, considering the fact that I practically live there lol. I’ve heard so many great things about this rotation, which has only amplified my excitement about finally starting my experience! Another thing that I’m really hyped about is next week’s trip to San Fran for the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference! I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I was told where this year’s conference would be taking place, which was almost a whole year ago. There are so many sessions that I want to attend, so many people I want to either meet or reconnect with, several activities that I want to lend a helping hand to, and if I have the time (probably won’t, let’s be honest), so many places that I want to visit in the city! With the hotel rooms having sold out over a month ago, I already know that it’s going to be a ton of fun! Plus, the networking opportunities will be unreal! Stay tuned for that post; it’s probably gonna be extra lol.

That’s it from me today. Be sure to have a fantastic week! And R.I.P. to all of our brackets. March Madness this year has truly been maddening. By far the worst I’ve ever done with my brackets. But I can’t even be mad because the games have been thrilling, to say the absolute least!

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.

Time Is Of The Essence

Well, just like every other year, Daylight Savings got me all messed up this morning. It never seems to fail; I always know it’s coming up and I try to prepare myself for it but once the day finally arrives, I usually find myself mentally discombobulated as I begin to process the fact that I’ve lost a crucial hour of my day. Although I’ll be alright and will adjust accordingly, that hour would have been real nice as I continue to prepare for my Surgery shelf exam this Friday. But at least there will be more daylight throughout the day, which pretty much means to me that Spring is coming very, very soon! I’ve been over winter since like New Years lol.

Because my shelf exam is this Friday and I’ve already lost an hour of productivity, I’m not going to make this entry a long one. But then again as you know, I can sometimes get carried away in my thoughts…so we’ll see how this post pans out.

Throughout this rotation, I’ve had to do much more self-teaching than I usually do (that’s really saying a lot) due to the fact that I didn’t get the opportunity to rotate through a lot of the other services that Surgery has to offer (I only rotated through Surgical Oncology, Ophthalmology and Anesthesia). That’s just how the scheduling worked; it would be almost impossible to fit in the many sub-specialties of this specialty in an eight-week period, much less have a meaningful experience while trying to do so. We did have student conferences where each student gave a presentation on a topic, which was helpful in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the Surgery specialty. Even with the fact that I relied heavily on self-directed learning throughout these past seven weeks, I actually feel like I’m in a good place with my studies right now. There will be very little, if any, ophthalmology or anesthesia on the exam (you literally spent the last four weeks on these services…way to go Christel) but on the flip side I was allowed more time to study the material that I’ll actually see on the exam, thanks to the forgiving hours of these services. So by taking full advantage of that, I’ve been able to stick to the study schedule that I had prepared for myself. That being said though, I still need this final week to finish up my studying because I’m definitely not 100% ready for the test yet.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

I just finished up my first week of Anesthesiology, and it has turned out to be a pretty great experience so far. I’ve been able to learn some really cool things about this field of medicine, and have been able to engage in some exciting procedures. On my very first day of this service, I bag-valve-masked nine patients in one morning! Don’t worry, they weren’t dying or anything…they were getting Electroconvulsive Therapy, which are very quick 20-minute procedures. I felt like I had become a pro at bag-valve-masking by the end of the morning. Throughout the week, I got the opportunity to watch and learn how anesthesiologists administer medications in the operating room, watch the placement of a central venous catheter, watch multiple nerve blocks, assist in placing a brachial nerve block, watch multiple tonsillectomies, interview patients as they came to clinic for their pre-operative workup, attend informative student lectures, and attempt to place a peripheral IV catheter in a patient. In addition, I also learned how to find my own brachial plexus via ultrasound and practiced my intubation skills in a simulation lab!

And to top it all off, just about every anesthesiologist I’ve worked with so far has been fun to be around! I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to rotate through this specialty, and even though I most likely won’t be tested on anything I learned this past week or will learn this upcoming week, I do realize the importance of understanding this material. Plus, when else am I going to be able to do some of these cool procedures? Okay okay I admit, I’ll be able to do some more of them during the Anesthesiology Acting Internship I signed up to participate in during my fourth year.

Speaking of fourth year, as of last night I’ve actually officially scheduled all of my blocks for it!

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That being said though, my current schedule is far from being set in stone because we’re actually allowed to change it up as we go through the year. Pretty crazy huh? There’s a good chance that I’ll be making some big changes to some parts of my schedule, especially if I end up being blessed with the opportunity to participate in some funded away rotations at other institutions (I’m working on these applications as we speak, which is another reason why I’ve been so busy as of late. As a matter of fact, why am I still typing out this post??) But on the other hand, there are some blocks scheduled that are definitely not going to change, such as my first four blocks (Step 2 Study Period, Pediatric Chronic Illness – Summer Camp, NICU and Peds Heme/Onc Acting Internship). I’m also definitely doing my Anesthesiology Acting Internship later on in the year, and will be participating in a Radiology elective near the end of next year as well. And I’ve scheduled my two flex blocks (free blocks to do whatever you need to do outside of school) for the residency interview season (Fall-Winter 2018) and the very end of my fourth year. Now that I have a good idea of what my schedule is looking like so far, I’m even more excited to finish up third year and get to my final year of med school!

Alright I ended up typing out more than I had planned, per usual. But once I get in sync with my free-flowing thoughts and get the caffiene flowing through my veins, it’s hard for me to stop typing lol. On the bright side though, it didn’t take that long for me to type this all out!

I hope that you have an awesome week! Best of luck to you as you begin to fill out your March Madness brackets! And to all of you on spring break, I absolutely envy you. Have fun though!

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

–ย Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I finally gave my Ophthalmology patient presentation last week. It wasn’t my best presentation, but it was also far from my worst too. You don’t realize how hard it is to give a presentation about a topic you’ve only spent about three weeks actively learning about to a room full of physicians who specializes in that topic, until you get in front of them and actually do it.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

P.P.S. – Shoutout to Black Panther for grossing over $1 BILLION in just 26 DAYS!!! WAKANDA FOREVER!!!

High Noon

Okay, crunch time is officially here.

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I have 11 days until my Surgery shelf exam, and I’m going to be losing an hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time next Sunday. Believe it or not, 11 days is not a lot of time to review all the material that I still need to get through in order to be comfortable enough to take that shelf exam. Although I’ve already completed a large portion of the questions that I need to get through, I still need to study the answers to them and further review the concepts that I don’t totally understand yet. In addition, I have to begin preparing for my cross-country trip to the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference at the end of this month, where I’ll be playing a much larger role (thanks to my status as one of the National Future Leadership Project Fellows and as one of the members of the National Community Service Committee) than I did when I went for the first time last year. The conference will be taking place in San Francisco this year, which I’m very excited for because I have never been to Cali before!

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There are also emails that I need to send out and respond to (I’ve accepted the fact that this is going to be a never-ending problem), projects that I need to continue to coordinate, assignments that I need to complete and things I need to figure out as I continue to prepare for applying to residency programs and for my final year of medical school. There just always seems to be a cascade of things to do at any given moment and because of this, my mind has developed this habit of racing through tasks while at the same time calculating my next moves. Even as I type this post, I’m thinking about the many things that I need to get done before I go to sleep tonight while at the same time plotting out my plan of attack in preparing for my upcoming exam. It’s honestly remarkable how on most nights, I’m able to calm my mind down enough to go to sleep.

Speaking of, starting tonight, I’m going to have to go back to going to sleep real early because I have to be at the hospital by 6 AM tomorrow morning to begin the Anesthesiology portion of my Surgery rotation. I knew that these early mornings were coming back to rear their ugly heads, so I’ve been mentally preparing myself for it for weeks lol. But in any case, this service is going to be an interesting one and I’m certain that I’ll learn a lot of good information during these next two weeks as I rotate through this specialty. I’m apparently going to be in different places on different days in order to rotate through as many of the sub-specialty areas of Anesthesiology as I possibly can, so I gotta make sure that I have my schedule straight at all times. I’ve been at the wrong place at the wrong time on several occasions, and it’s certainly NOT a fun thing to have to go through. I’m also ready to start on this service because I have yet to meet an Anesthesiologist here at Wake who isn’t a chill person! The atmosphere that I’ve sensed from the physicians in this department so far gives me reason to look forward to working on this service for the next couple of weeks.

With the start of my last service on my Surgery rotation comes the end of my fascinating experience in the Ophthalmology department. During my last week on this service, I had the opportunity to work with Ophthalmologists who specialized in the cornea, the retina and the pediatric population. In addition, I was able to work with a resident who answered consults throughout the hospital, allowing me the opportunity to observe all kinds of patients who had some unique findings in their eyes that I had never seen before. I appreciated the things that I was able to see and do during this week, but something specific that I took note of was how the Pediatric Ophthalmologist interacted with his patients. He had the challenging task of examining and diagnosing children with ocular disorders, which meant that he had to ensure that these kids stayed patient enough to follow the specific directions that he gave them while he assessed them. It was incredible to watch how he used the tricks that he had up his sleeves to retrieve important information from his patients, and to realize just how knowledgeable he was about ophthalmology. I’m definitely going to have to borrow some of his clever tricks and use them with my own patients in the future!

All in all, even though the patient presentation that I was supposed to give during Grand Rounds last week got pushed to this week, I had a great and intellectually stimulating experience while on this service. There were times where I was tempted to reconsider pursuing this specialty again, but at this point I’m comfortable enough to say that I’m committed to a career in Pediatrics. Where this road will take me, I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that I’ve developed a very real passion about this specialty that I can’t shake off, and the opportunities that a career in Pediatrics presents truly excite me to no end. Who knew that it would have ever come to this? Apparently just about everyone but me ๐Ÿ˜…. They weren’t lying when they said that crazy things can happen during your clinical rotations!

Alright, gotta go now. Be sure to start your month off on a positive note! And remember to get yourself ready for the insanity that is March Madness…

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“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.” – Pat Riley

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – The two presentations that I gave last week went well for the most part! Well, one of them went sort-of-well in my opinion, and I ended up doing a much better job with my other one!