Gaining Ground

Well, I’m still studying for Step 2 CK. Nothing much has changed regarding that aspect of my life. My question block scores have been pretty stable this past week, with many more highs than lows. I also took a diagnostic test on Thursday and according to my results, I’m at a much better level of preparation than I had anticipated! I wasn’t feeling too confident while I was answering those questions, but after I got my score back I felt like I could just go on ahead and take Step 2 the next day just to get it over with lol. I have a little less than two weeks to finish preparing for this exam, which is both good and annoying. It’s good because I can only get better from where I’m at, and I have the potential to have a high peak performance on test day. On the other hand, it’s annoying because I’m starting to lose patience with these study days and this endless cycle of answering questions and reviewing them is actively draining my desire to study. Plus, I don’t want to end up performing at my peak before test day. That would really, really, reeeally suck. But alas, the grind must never stop. I’ll continue to chug along with this study process and ensure that all this hard work brings about a fruitful result.

In other news, I took some time off last Wednesday to participate in patient advocacy at the state capital! The event, White Coat Wednesday, is an annual event hosted by the North Carolina Pediatric Society that is focused on meeting with state legislators in order to discuss pertinent issues relating to the health of children and families in NC. My whole morning was spent having important discussions with various legistators alongside Wake Forest faculty members, residents and fellow classmates who are also interested in a career in Pediatrics. It was a pretty neat experience, because it allowed me to witness firsthand what engaging in patient advocacy on a legislative level was like. It’s really not as intimidating as you would think it is. Before meeting with the legislator, you come up with a few talking points that you want to emphasize during your conversation. Ideally, they would be topics that you believe would be most likely for both you and the legislator to agree upon, because you want to ensure that the meeting will be a productive one. Once you have those set talking points, you literally walk up to your legislator’s office and attempt to talk with him/her for a few minutes. Of course this part is easier if you have already scheduled a meeting with them beforehand. You hit on your talking points during the conversation and hope to inspire the legislator to act upon at least one of your suggestions. Then the meeting is over and you both go your separate ways as you work to locate the next lawmaker that you want to influence.

It’s actually a pretty simple process once you get the hang of it. But then again, the lead Pediatrician we were with has been doing this type of work for a while now, so I’m sure that this is all second-nature to her. She really made the whole process look so easy! As a future Pediatrician, I know that I’ll certainly be drawn to advocate for my patients on many levels, especially the legislative level. With that said, I really am glad that I decided to participate in this event because not only did it make the whole process less intimidating than it initially seemed, but it also proved to me that I could really help make a difference in the lives of others on a larger scale just by talking to the very people who help create the laws we live by.

All done here! Now go on and have a sensational first week of June!

“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” – Anne Frank

– Black Man, M.D.

The Spirit of Ambition

Throughout my third-year, my classmates and friends had been telling me how great and wonderful the Family Medicine rotation was. After having heard all of these glorious praises on a continuous basis, I found myself itching to begin this rotation to see why everyone had loved it so much. Now that I’ve been in Family Medicine for a week, I can absolutely confirm how awesome this rotation is! The residents and attendings are incredibly kind, they get along extraordinarily well with the other members of the healthcare team (who have also been very friendly towards me), the work hours are very med student-friendly (thanks to the outpatient nature of the specialty), there is built-in study time in our schedule (LOOK AT GOD), all of the noon conferences have quality lunches, the student lectures have been interesting & informative, we’ve been able to receive faculty feedback from non-graded patient encounters, and there is unlimited free coffee in the lounge for us to drink! And those are just the things that I could think of off the top of my head!

lit basketball wives GIF by VH1

In addition, I’ve been able to take advantage of the opportunities I have to further improve my focused history-taking and physical exam skills as well as my assessment and plan-making abilities. I’ve received great feedback so far that has allowed me to understand what I’ve been doing really well and what I could continue to improve upon. (I apparently have the habit of filling mid-conversational silence with random words like “Great, great….awesome…” or “Okay, okay…nice…” while I’m talking to patients. Lol, I’ve never thought about that…) I welcome all the high-quality feedback that I can get because as you know, I’m actively working to become the best physician that I can be. I want to be beyond good at what I do; I want to be excellent at my craft. Far-reaching goals such as this have forced me to push myself harder than I would necessarily need to otherwise, and I’m, in most ways, proud of that.

However, I’ve also come to realize that because of my ambitious nature, I can be overly (and probably unnecessarily) critical of myself at times. Even though I know that I’m doing alright in the whole process of gathering data from a patient, coming up with an assessment, differential diagnosis and plan, and presenting the information to someone else in oral and written format, I just feel like I could be doing so much better. I know my skills will continue to improve with practice and time and all, but I guess I just want to already have the skillset and knowledge that the attendings around me have. I have to keep reminding myself that they were once in my shoes and that it took them a long time to get to where they’re at currently. Hell, they probably had the same thoughts that I’m having about badly wanting to better themselves and wanting to be as knowledgeable as their own attendings and upper-levels. With that said, I’m just gonna have to keep grinding and improving while making sure that I don’t criticize myself to the point where I become demoralized. I didn’t make it all the way to this point just to kick myself down…the fact that I’m a medical student continues to be an achievement in itself, and I must never forget that.

Kid President Encouragement GIF by SoulPancake

Overall, it’s been a real chill week in the clinic and I love the positive vibes that I’ve been feeling in the air! Like, I was assigned an evening clinic shift and a Saturday morning clinic shift this past week and not only did I enjoy the time I spent with the residents, attending and patients there, but I actually found that I had stayed a little later than I needed to both times! I swear man, the people you work with can seriously make or break your experiences in any given rotation.

I have a few more things to say before I end this post but I also don’t want to spend the next hour typing when I could be studying for this notoriously difficult shelf exam (I feel like I’ve been saying that about every shelf exam I’ve ever taken) that’s coming up in less than three weeks. So in order to compromise both of my desires, I’m just going to quickly word vomit what I wanna say.

I attended a global health session where current fourth-year students talked about their experiences in various global health electives. I had gone to the session because I’m interested in taking a newly-formed immigrant health elective next year and the student who was in the trial run of the elective this year was going to speak about her experience in it. However, after listening to the experiences of the other students who went to countries such as Japan, Costa Rica, South Africa and Spain in order to complete a rotation in a specialty of their choice, I’m now more amenable to pursuing an elective in another country at some point next year! But then again, I may not. Who knows?

There was another session where the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine came to talk to us medical students on this rotation about health policy and advocacy. In our discussion, he talked about the incredible importance of being involved in legislature as healthcare providers due to the fact that there is very little representation of us in the government. He also touched on being an advocate for primary care and we discussed reasons as to why medical students may or may not choose to go into primary care. It was a thought-provoking conversation and made me more aware of the influence that we as medical students and future physicians can potentially have on decisions made in the government.

Okay, I’m pretty much done now. I’m excited to start another week of Family Medicine and to FINALLY fly over to California on Wednesday to attend AMEC!! I’ll be finishing up my remaining responsibilities as one of the National Future Leadership Project Fellows and will be assuming my position as a Co-Chair of the External Affairs Committee of the SNMA, a position that I was appointed to just last Monday! It’s LIT!! 😄😎🔥

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what (s)he has already achieved, but at what (s)he aspires to do.” – Kahlil Gibran

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I got my Surgery shelf exam score back and although it wasn’t a bad score, it wasn’t as great of a performance as I would have liked, considering the fact that I poured a TON of energy into preparing for it. Sigh. C’est la vie.