Final Rotation

Tomorrow will mark the first day of my final clinical rotation of medical school.

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As I’m sitting here typing this, I can’t help but feel a strong sense of awe and wonder about how far I’ve come in my medical education. After spending so much time regarding the end of my fourth-year as a time that I’ll eventually come across in the distant future, it’s simply incredible that I’ve finally made it to this point. It’s hard to believe that I’ve gone through seventeen rotation blocks since starting my third-year clinical rotations back in May 2017.

SEVENTEEN.

I had to say it again because I almost didn’t believe it the first time I said it. I actually just counted them to make sure I wasn’t lying to you. Lol but yeah, my clinical experiences in all of those rotations have allowed me to not only increase my knowledge base in clinical medicine, but to also increase my confidence level in adequately caring for patients as a healthcare provider. I’m extremely grateful for this boost in confidence, because I’m going to need every ounce of it when I start my residency training this summer. 😅

The rotation that I’m starting tomorrow is Diagnostic Radiology, a specialty that hones in on the skillset required to accurately read X-Ray films, CT scans, MRI scans, etc. While it is known to be more of a chill rotation for medical students because there’s only so much you can do with scans and films at my level of training, I’m expecting to learn some of the tips & tricks that Radiologists use to read these kinds of images so that I can feel more comfortable doing so in the future. As a resident, it will be necessary for me to interpret radiologic images in order to provide effective care for my patients. Yeah yeah I know, all the images I come across will be read by Radiology residents and attendings and I’ll have the luxury of reading their official interpretation in their notes. However, I still want to acquire the ability of reading them on my own so that I don’t always have to rely on the interpretation of others to make my own clinical judgments. As y’all already know, I’m trying to be the best doctor that I can be!

I get my rotation schedule tomorrow at orientation, which I hope is as great as people have hyped it up to be. I don’t have to be there till 8:30 AM, which means that the rotation is already off to a great start! 😄

While I’m happy that I’m finally getting the opportunity to rotate through my Radiology elective, it comes with the unfortunate fact that my amazing Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation has come to an end. 😭 As you may already know from my previous posts, I’ve had some awesome experiences during my time on this rotation. This past week, I was afforded the opportunity to shadow a PA and a Nurse Practitioner in a Family Planning Clinic (literally felt like I was on my Ob/Gyn rotation again), I joined a few other families in attending a Brenner FIT class where I learned about the techniques that the program utilizes in order to change the relationship that kids have with the food they eat, I learned more about the roles that the Public Health Department play regarding case management in the lives of patients, I visited an STD testing site in the community that was being hosted by POSSE, I tagged along with a school nurse at a high school specifically designed for kids with special needs, and I ended the rotation on Friday afternoon with a debriefing session with one of the course coordinators and my friend who was completing the rotation with me. Just like in the weeks prior, this past week provided me with some eye-opening experiences that I otherwise would have probably never had if I hadn’t done this rotation. The debriefing session also gave us the opportunity to not only share with the coordinator feedback of our experiences, but to also give her some recommendations that could benefit the future students that will be completing this rotation next year.

Outside of participating in my rotation last week, I spent two of my mornings last week volunteering as a facilitator of one of the orientation activities for the rising third-year students. My station, which was shared with a faculty member and another classmate, mainly focused on the process of choosing a medical specialty to base one’s medical career on. This was pretty fitting for me for as you may already know, I went through a major switch in specialty interests during my third year (Ophthalmology –> Pediatrics) and at this station I was able to talk more in detail about this switch. There were a few other scenarios that we talked through as a group, and it was cool to be able to talk with these students as they begin to embark on the adventure of their clinical rotations. What a time, what a time.

Here is where I will end my post for today. I wish you great fortune and prosperity in the week ahead!

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” – Jesse Owens

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Can you believe that we’re already heading into March?? Man I love March…it means that Spring is around the corner, the days will be longer because of Daylight Savings, the temperature starts warming up for real, Match Day is coming up fast, and MARCH MADNESS SEASON BEGINS!! IT’S LIT!!! 😄🙌🏿🔥

 

The Waiting Game Begins…

Welp, there goes another week.

It pretty much flew by just as fast as the previous week did, and I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m loving my time in fourth-year right now and as they always say, times flies when you’re having fun. I don’t really want the rest of this year to flash before my eyes, so I’m trying my best to appreciate and live up each and every day from now until I start my residency training. However at the same time, I’m looking forward to beginning my residency training as an M.D. and to finally be someone’s physician. That’s an honor that I’ve been working towards tirelessly for a good chunk of my life now. As tough as the experience will be, I’m sure that I’ll work to appreciate each and every day of residency. Nevertheless, I’m a fourth-year now and as such, I need to be enjoying my hard-earned chill time!

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In other news, I stuck to my word and officially certified my rank list last week!

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Now that I’ve certified and submitted it, there’s no turning back. Wherever I end up matching is where I’m obligated to spend the next three years of my life training to become a fantastic Pediatrician. Up until this point, I’ve been busy securing good grades, gathering letters of recommendations, completing and submitting my residency application, traveling for interviews, and sorting out my rank list. I’ve just been straight-up busy working to secure my future all throughout my fourth-year. However, from now until March 15th, 2019, there’s nothing else for me to do but simply wait to see where all this labor and prayer will take me. It’s pretty wild, to say the least. In the meantime though, I’ll be finishing up my experience in my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation and begin rotating through my last rotation of fourth-year, my Diagnostic Radiology elective. In addition, I’ll continue to update the blog, fulfill both my responsibilities for school and my ever-growing SNMA duties, and most importantly, continue to live out my best fourth-year life!

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I continued to benefit from some dope experiences during my third week in this rotation, some of which included attending a community meeting about taking action to promote the education and well-being of young children in the community, shadowing a community-based dentist, rotating through an STD clinic, a child abuse clinic (incredibly sad and gut-wrenching) and a travel clinic (I didn’t even know travel clinics existed…apparently you can go to a special clinic to get the information and immunizations you need before you travel abroad. The job also looked verrry chill…🤔), attending an advisory board meeting where the topics of Medicaid transformation and safety net coordination in the community were discussed, and learning more about the control of communicable diseases (influenza, measles, zika, E. coli, norovirus, etc.) in the county by talking with people in the health department who worked specifically in the communicable diseases section of the department.

Like I said last week, I could go into detail about each of these interesting experiences, but then I would be here for a while writing an unnecessarily lengthy essay about each of them. Y’all know how long-winded I can get lol. This upcoming week is my last week in the rotation, which is a bummer because I’ve genuinely been having a wonderful time these past few weeks. But alas, all good things must come to an end. 😔

With that, I’ll go ahead and end this post here.

I hope that your week is a stupendous one!

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.”- Susan L. Taylor

– Black Man, M.D.

The Impact of A Decision

I must say, this week flew by pretty fast…I legit feel like I just finished typing up last week’s post. 😅

The completion of this week marks the halfway point in my current rotation, which means that I’m a week closer to Match Day as well as to graduation! People always say that this time period in fourth-year flies by especially fast and I gotta say, they WERE NOT lying. Like, we’re already approaching the middle of February 2019! This also means that the last day to submit my rank list is rapidly approaching (next Wednesday)!

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For those of you who don’t know the significance of that, it means that by next Wednesday I need to be 100% sure of which programs I want to rank #1, #2, #3 and so on. Once I submit this list, there’s no looking back. So as you can imagine, a ton of fourth-year medical students across the nation are currently stressing out about making an important decision that will directly impact their immediate future. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m not necessarily that stressed about submitting my rank list because I believe that I’m going to end up wherever I’m meant to be and that I’ll do all I can to make the most out of my experience at whatever program I end up training at. That being said, I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking, praying and talking with others in order to make sure that I’m making the best decisions I can for my list. I’ll probably work to get it finalized and sent in this week just so that I don’t have to worry about it next week. (I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if I missed the deadline to submit it…😳) After submitting it, I’ll chuck up a quick prayer and move on with my life. 😊

As for my most recent week of my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation, it was another great and informative one full of memorable experiences that I’ll be sure to carry with me as I begin my career as a medical doctor. I was afforded some more unique experiences throughout the week that I was able to appreciate, including attending a Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting within the Wake Forest Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Program in Community Engagement, helping treat low-income immigrants from various countries around the world, attending a Department of Health & Human Services board meeting where leaders in Forsyth County reviewed North Carolina public health law, recieved updates about various public health initiatives in the community and approved substantial budgets for public health programs in the county, experiencing first-hand how a WIC clinic functions on a day-to-day basis, observing how an ID card drive for undocumented immigrants operates in the community, and learning more about what the POSSE (Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs Everywhere) program does in the community.

I could write in detail about each of these experiences, but then I would end up spending a lot more time typing up this post than I would like. What I will say is that as I worked with some of the low-income immigrants in the clinics I was rotating through, it was painfully obvious just how much harder it was for them to get adequate access to care. Not only did they have have a significant language barrier that they had to hurdle over, but they also had other additional barriers to care that you and I may take for granted. It was wild to hear about what a lot of them have to go through just to get by, but I’m glad that their struggles were reinforced to me. It definitely gave me some perspective that will prove useful to me in my career.

Overall, I really am glad that I decided to sign up for this rotation. The experiences that I’ve had so far and that I will continue to have these next two weeks will undoubtedbly impact how I practice medicine in my career. With all of the knowledge that I continue to acquire about the community throughout this month, I will feel much more empowered to connect my future patients to various resources that their respective communities have to offer.

That’s pretty much all I have to say for today. I have quite a busy day ahead of me now that I’ve recently (and unexpectedly) taken on the role of interim Region IV Director of the Student National Medical Association, a position that I’ll hold in conjunction with my position as one of the External Affairs National Committee Co-Chairs. While this new, temporary role just made me busier than I would have liked to be at this time in my fourth-year, I still have all intentions of living my best life on this final stretch of the school year!

Go on and make this week an outstanding one! And continue to revel in the awesomeness of Black History Month!

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey

– Black Man, M.D.

Second Time’s The Charm

After my scarring camping experience as a Boy Scout in 5th grade (I quit Boy Scouts shortly after this escapade), I swore to myself that I would never go to a camp again. And ever since then, I haven’t stepped foot on a campsite.

Until now.

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After almost 15 years of avoiding campsites, here I am typing this post at, you guessed it, a campsite. However, if you’ve been reading my posts, then this isn’t coming as a surprise to you. We’ve known for a while that my next rotation would consist of me attending a summer camp specifically designed to cater to kids with various chronic illnesses. And because I willingly picked this as one of my fourth-year electives, it’s obvious that the chances of me hating this camping experience are very minimal, if existent at all. You see, unlike my Boy Scouts trip where I had to face the wilderness with my troop as a ten-year-old child, this camp is moreso an oasis located out on the countryside where I’ll be alongside many counselors and medical volunteers helping kids have fun!

Kids from all over the country come to Victory Junction because of the ubiquitous fun-loving and benevolent atmosphere found here. This atmosphere is fortified by all the various exciting activites there are to do here as well as the engaged nature of the counselors and summer staff. I’ll be spending the next four weeks here, where I’ll be spending half my time working as a camp counselor and the other half working as a medical volunteer. It’s going to be a busy month, but I also get the feeling that it’s going to be very entertaining as well! However while I’m here, I won’t be able to use my laptop and phone as much because being engaged with the kids is a priority at camp. This means that my weekly posts will most likely come at different times that you and me both aren’t used to. My next few posts will probably come on Saturdays as opposed to Sundays, just as a heads-up. I get time off from Thursday afternoons-Saturday afternoons where I’m able to go back home and recuperate, which is why it’ll be easier for me to just post during that time as opposed to Sunday when I’m already back at camp checking in a new set of kids for the week. But it’s all good though, it’s not every day that I get to rotate through a summer camp!

The vibe that I’ve gotten from the people I’ve met so far during orientation has been an energetic and genuine one, which makes me even more excited to start working as a camp counselor this week! Most of the people I’ve met are either still in college or have just graduated, making me one of the older counselors here. That’s something that I’m not used to, for I’m usually the baby of whatever group I end up being in. It’s cool to be one of the older people for once. 😎 People like to think that because you have a few years on them, you must be way more mature and wiser. This is probably not so true in my case. But regardless, I’m not about to call my own bluff lol.

Outside of finally coming to camp, I’ve had a pretty uneventful week. Okay that’s partially a lie; I was on Hilton Head Island from last Saturday up until Tuesday and I had such a relaxing time while I was there! Some of the things that we did included going to the beach multiple times, eating some tasty seafood at various restaurants on the island, and hitting up a couple of bars.

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I honestly wasn’t ready to leave so soon, but my girlfriend had another trip to go on in a couple of days. Plus, I needed to spend the next couple of days getting my life together before coming to camp. I ended up getting a lot of work done that I had been pushing off and although I still have quite a bit more to get through, I’m confident that I’ll be able to do so during my weekends off this next month. I was also able to catch a few exciting games of the World Cup! I’ve found myself cheering hard for Mexico and Nigeria since my usuals didn’t make the tournament this time around. Both of these teams have been doing pretty well so far. Hopefully they continue their winning streak!

Alright, I gotta go to bed and rest up for what’s looking to be a full day tomorrow. I hope that your week is an eventful one!

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

– Black Man, M.D.

Stepping Back Into Step

Well I must say, I like being a fourth-year so far.

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Yeah I know it’s only been a week and all, but man has it been chill. It has actually been one of the most relaxing weeks I’ve had in a while. I mean, I did have to go through my Procedures OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination), my final CPX (Clinical Practice Examination), and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) training over the course of the week, but even with those things in place, it’s been a chill week overall. I haven’t had to study for another looming Shelf exam nor have I had to prepare myself for a shift in the ED/clinic/OR/wards. I literally have been able to calm all my nerves down and relax for a little while….sort of. I may not have another Shelf exam coming up, but I do have this little thing called Step 2 CK that I’m gonna have to pounce on in less than a month. With that said, I’ve had to mix my relaxation with the initial phase of my preparation for the exam. This means that I’ve been forcing myself to complete UWorld question blocks for the past few days while reviewing material that I’ve learned all throughout the year, just like I was doing for Step 1.

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In addition to beginning my Step Study Block, I’ve been having to make time to fulfill my duties as the External Affairs Committee Co-Chair for the SNMA. There’s quite a bit of work that goes into this position and I’m still grappling on how to be as efficient and effective in this role as possible while continuing to put forth my best efforts in my studies. I’m sure that as time passes, I’ll grow even more into this new role and I’ll also figure out ways to complete the things I need to do in a more efficient manner. There’s just so much paperwork that I need to keep straight but as long as I keep my organization game A1, I should be good. Plus with a Co-Chair as good as mine, I’m confident that our committee will be strong and healthy well before our quarterly National Leadership Institute, which is where the Board of Directors of the SNMA meet. This first one will be taking place at the end of June in Minnesota. I ain’t never been to Minnesota, nor did I think I would ever have to travel there. But then again, never in a million years did I think I would ever be blogging. Yet here I am. Just ty-ping my thoughts away.

So yeah, gist of this post is that I’m liking my final year of school so far, I’m still busy even when I’m not, I’m glad to be done with the testing I had to do this week (OSCE and ACLS went fine. This CPX was definitely my best performance yet, but even with that said I definitely screwed up a few things…and it wasn’t that easy of a test. I’m pretty sure I did alright on it overall…but I’m still gonna pray on it 🙏🏿) and I’m starting to crack down on this Step 2 studying. I’m so not looking forward to four straight weeks of question blocks and review…but whatever, it’s gotta be done. Plus, I’m going to be with my girlfriend most of the time so that should already make these next few weeks better than last year’s Step Study Block!

Alright, back to studying I go. I have a couple hours to get some in before I attend Wake Forest’s annual SNMA graudation banquet tonight. Wow! I’ll be a graduate in that banquet next year! 😆😆😆

Be sure to have an awesome week!

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” – Mae Jemison

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Okay this is really random, but I got a professional massage for the first time in my life a couple days ago. Maaannn have I been missing out! And I also watched Deadpool 2; it’s freakin’ hilarious. You definitely gotta check it out. But be warned, there’s a lot of gruesome action scenes. And very crude humor. Lots of it. 😂

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (3/4) M.D.

My third year of medical school is officially over!

So you aaallllrrrready know what time it is!!!

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It’s so exciting to be able to finally go into fourth-year and to focus on rotating in the electives that I’ve picked for myself. Ever since my first year, I’ve heard how wonderful fourth-year is and how much fun I’ll end up having, especially after trekking through the organized chaos that is interview season. Also, I’ve been looking at all the brand new medical doctors who just graduated from medical school this weekend and it’s awesome to know that I’ll be in that very position in just a short year! Well, awesome and quite nerve-wracking. Like I know that I know a lot, but do I know enough to be a full-fledged doctor? Only time will tell lol. I have confidence that I’ve been prepared well to this point in my education, and fourth-year will only allow me to further sharpen my skills in preparation for intern year.

There’s a lot to look forward to now that I’ve finished my core clinical rotations! At the same time though, there’s a lot of work to do with Step 2 CK and CS coming up, residency applications awaiting me, interview season on the horizon and in my fourth-year electives where I’ll still be working hard even though I don’t have a test to prepare for in most of them. And I can’t forget about fulfilling my role as an SNMA National Officer throughout the coming year. Yeah, it’s going to be busy but if I take things one day at a time, I know that these tasks will be accomplished for sure!

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As I look towards a future full of promise and blessings, I would like to take a moment to reflect on this past year of growth and maturation. When I sit here and think about all that I’ve been able to witness and participate in while on my clinical rotations, I’m left feeling absolutely amazed. The connections I made with my patients throughout the year were priceless. I’ll never forget the various deep conversations and clinical experiences I had with one of them who ended up being diagnosed with a terminal condition. We had become so well-acquainted with one another that he trusted me, and even encouraged me, to place a nasogastric tube into him, which is not a pleasant experience at all.

It’s hard to forget the sight of the amputated patient being treated for heart failure looking out of her window, lost in deep thought. I always wondered where her mind was in those moments. Then there was the pleasant elderly woman (she looked about 30 years younger then her age) who always had a bright smile on her face whenever I walked into her room. The time where I de-escalated a situation between a family and the healthcare providers after pinpointing a misunderstanding and providing clarification to the family. Trying to convince a young man to quit using cocaine in order to reduce his risk of death from a heart condition he was born with. The patient with a chronic illness in his kidneys who enjoyed my company so much that he wanted to get my number so that we could grab a beer after he got out of the hospital. (Of course I had to decline the offer, but I did tell him that I appreciated his kindness).

Witnessing the birth of four children on my 24th birthday. Not getting the chance to deliver a live baby, but participating in various ways in the births of a number of children. Delivering five placentas. Coaching mothers through childbirth. Staring into the eyes of an infant who was crying in pain but not making a sound due to her tracheal tube and her medical condition that affected the muscles throughout her body. The hope and life in the demeanor of another child that I ended up spending a considerable amount of time with who was suffering from renal failure. A family’s despair as we informed them that their kid was being diagnosed with cancer.

Shocking the brains of patients with electroconvulsive therapy. Getting screamed at by a psychiatric patient five minutes before having a delightful conversation with her. Treating suicidal and schizophrenic patients as well as patients with various personality disorders. That patient who suffered from a devastating stroke that equally devastated her daughters. The very pleasant patient who presented with the re-occurrence of a rare neurological condition that my team and I decided to write a case report about. All of those patients that my surgical oncology team and I saw in the clinic. Helping perform a Whipple procedure in a patient with pancreatic cancer. Maneuvering the camera being used by the surgeons to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Getting the opportunity to operate one-on-one with a fellow on a patient with metastatic cancer.

Becoming proficient at using the slit-lamp, the retinoscope and the direct ophthalmoscope during my Ophthalmology rotation. Treating the endless number of patients in the Ophthalmology clinic. Witnessing LASIK eye surgery for the very first time. Making my massive career switch from Ophthalmology to Pediatrics. Putting patients to sleep in the Operating Room. Watching a patient undergo open heart surgery while I learned about pharmacology from an Anesthesia resident. Learning how to intubate and bag-valve-mask patients. Enjoying the calm and collaborative atmosphere in the Family Medicine clinic. Flying to California for the first time in my life. Talking about my blog at a Narrative Medicine conference. Practicing my Phlebotomy skills in the clinic.

Watching a patient die in front of me right before being shocked back to life in a dramatic fashion by his implantable defribillator. Helping restrain another panicked and angry patient who suffered a gunshot wound to his face. Reassuring the concerned parents of children in the Emergency Room and letting them know that their children will be alright even though they may look sick. Witnessing firsthand the drastic consequences that come with severe dehydration. Learning how to manage trauma cases via simulations and real-life scenarios in the ED. Treating massive burns, heart attacks, septic shock and seizures. Becoming great friends with my rotation group. Giving various presentations during my rotations. Fully engaging myself in my educational activities.

The list goes on and on…..and on and on and on. These reflections are just the things that came to my mind at the moment. There are so many experiences this past year that I could write about; so many that I could literally write a book. There will be many more experiences to engage in, and I’m very much so looking forward to them! I’m so honored to have been blessed to engage in these educational and priceless experiences at such a young age. It’s wild to think that these life-altering experiences for people have become an everyday thing for me. Talk about perspective.

Well if you have made it this far into the post, I would like to thank you for taking the trip down memory lane with me! You are much appreciated! With third-year now behind me, I’m officially 75% done with medical school. That a substantial amount of schooling complete man! I have to get through some procedural testing this week as well as a clinical skills exam (CPX), and Advanced Cardiac Life Support training. Then after all of this, I’ll be free to study for my Step 2 Clinical Knowledge exam, which I’m taking on Friday, June 15th. 😅😐🙃 It’s about to be another busy month, but I’m ready to head through it with full force! I just pray that everyone was right when they said that Step 2 isn’t as treacherous as Step 1. 🙏🏿

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Be sure to have a superb week! Congratulations to all of you who are graduating from your respective programs this month! And Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you amazing, loving and spectacular mothers out there!

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” – Sigmund Freud

– Black Man, M.D.

ONE. MORE. WEEK.

This is it y’all!

I’m heading into my final week of third-year rotations!!

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I’m finally going to be taking my eighth and final Shelf exam this Friday, and I couldn’t be more ready to get it over with. It’s taking everything in me to get through all the material that I need to study in order to perform adequately on the exam, especially since the Emergency Medicine exam is one that can test me on just about anything. So yeah, you already know that there’s no way I’m going to know everything I need to know for this exam. If there’s one thing I learned about Shelf exams this year, it’s that the questions on the test are a total crapshoot. There’s pretty much no telling what’s coming at you once you hit “Start Exam” and enter into the 2-hour-and-45-minute time crunch that you’re given to complete the 110 questions. It’s annoying as hell. But regardless, I’m gonna put my best effort into it and deal with whatever score I manage to squeeze from it. Unlike other rotations though, I also have a 30-minute oral exam that I have to complete the morning of my Shelf. So I have the glorious opportunity to prepare for that too. Lucky me. Hopefully that ends up helping out my overall grade as opposed to hurting me!

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Before I get to finish off my third year and move on to fourth year like I so desperately want to, I have to work two more ED shifts tomorrow and Tuesday as well as participate in a Pediatrics Simulation Lab and finish writing up this required case report about a patient that I helped treat a couple of weeks ago. This is all after having completed a Peds ED shift today just prior to typing this post.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I actually do like this rotation and the people I’ve worked with in it have been some of the best and nicest that I’ve worked with all year long. Plus, both the didactic and the on-the-job teaching I’ve had the opportunity to receive while in this rotation has been phenomenal. I feel like I’ve learned an incredible amount of information in these past three weeks and like I’ve been treated as a true member of the healthcare team while working my shifts. And I can’t forget about the fact that I’ve gotten the chance to see some pretty crazy things happen to patients while on my shifts. But even with all that said, I’ve recently come to find that I’ve become quite exhausted with this school year overall. It has been getting harder for me to will myself to get things done and to engage myself in the rotation at times. There have been also times where I just completely forgoed studying and found something else to do with the limited time that I have. For a second, I had thought I was starting to perhaps experience some early signs of burnout…but I don’t think that’s really what it is. I think it’s moreso that now that I know what field of medicine I want to go into, I’m just itching to start working in that field specifically. I have most of my fourth-year schedule locked in already, and I have a fantastic start to the year with my first four blocks being Step 2 prep (🙃🙃🙃), the Victory Junction Pediatric Summer Camp, Neonatal ICU and the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Acting Internship. And not only am I excited about my schedule, I’m also thrilled about the fact that I don’t have any exams to prepare for in most of my blocks next year!!

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That’s literally one of the best parts of fourth year; I’ll be able to fully immerse myself in the rotations and study the material that I want to study in the fashion that I want to do so without having to worry about getting through a certain number of questions and memorizing buzzwords and whatnot. I can read research articles to my heart’s desire, I can spend my “study time” reading up on as many patients as I want, I can fully engage with my patients without having to worry about setting time aside to study questions and when I get home I don’t have to spend most of my waking hours studying for Shelf exams! It’s going to be wonderful, I already know it lol. These, plus more, are the reasons as to why I am itching to finish up this Emergency Medicine rotation and to start off my last year of medical school. I’m really glad that this rotation is designed the way it is though, because having great people to work with in such a collegiate environment has made it easier for me to engage myself and learn, no matter how much I would like to fast forward time. However, I did enjoy the two Peds ED shifts that I’ve worked in, so Peds Emergency Medicine is definitely a possible career path for me in the future!

This past week was straight. I don’t really feel like typing anymore, especially since I have a lot of other stuff to do…so I’ll keep it brief. I worked three ED shifts throughout the week, participated in an Airway Lab where my classmates and I got hands-on learning about managing airways in patients, and attended the annual Scholar’s Brunch yesterday morning where I met one of the people that one of my scholarships was named after. It turns out that she was one of the previous Deans for Student Inclusion and Diversity at the medical school! We had some great conversation over some delicious food and I was able to take in the moment to appreciate the fact that I was in a room full of freakin’ millionaires. Like, I was meeting people whose family members had buildings around the medical center named after them! Wild bruh. Just wild. I was also featured in a video that was shown during the brunch (Here’s the link to it), so maybe some of those donors will remember my face and decide to help me pay off some more of my six-digit debt! 😅🙏🏿

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Aight, I’m done typing. Y’all be sure to have a fantastic week! 😄

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn

– 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. 😅

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

– 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. 😅

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

Rude Awakening

You know, it’s hilarious just how pumped and bright-eyed I ALWAYS seem to be right after a break from school, only to be brutally reminded about what’s really good when I get slammed with work to do as soon as my first week back starts. And I’m not even necessarily talking about the work I do in the hospital; yeah it was a very busy week and I was taking care of multiple patients with various neurologic conditions, but I’m used to all that. I’m more so talking about all the extraneous tasks I told myself that I had to complete within a certain time frame, getting my fourth-year schedule in order, having to study for the Shelf exam that I’m taking this Friday (I swear that test crept up on me SO fast), and finding the time (and energy) to do all of those things in the couple hours of free time I have each day after a 11+ hour shift at the hospital. Oh, and how can I forget about the oh-so-pleasant feeling of being SNATCHED out of sleep at 4:45 AM each morning? I was up and running on Monday morning with a pep in my step, but it only took until Tuesday morning for me to remember why waking up so early sucked so much. All I could do that morning was groan, lay there in bed for a couple of minutes, chuckle randomly, roll my eyes, take a deep breath and throw myself out of bed to start another day in my General Neurology inpatient week.

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The actual experience on the inpatient service was pretty dope, especially since everyone on my team were such great people! From the interns all the way up to the attendings, everyone was just so nice. There were plenty of good vibes to go around and I learned quite a bit through their fantastic teaching. We as a team also rounded on an interesting array of patients, some of which had rare enough conditions deserving of a case report. In addition, I was able to sit in on a family meeting with my team and further appreciate the humanity of this side of medicine. The time just seemed to fly by while in the hospital, especially in the mornings when we pre-rounded and rounded on patients before going off to lunch. My afternoons consisted of additional patient care, meetings and required lectures on multiple topics in neurology. I would leave around 5 PM each day and try to summon the strength to study and complete little tasks before eating dinner and crashing onto my bed…only to be abducted from my dreams again the next morning. Although the days were filled with long hours, the week seemed to fly by pretty quick overall!

Earlier, I mentioned having to get my fourth-year schedule in order. You may be like, “Wow, you’re scheduling your fourth-year already? Why? It’s only January!” Well yeah I agree, it is quite early. But then again, it’s not that early because if I’ve learned anything in med school, it’s that time literally flashes before your eyes on a constant basis. So with that said, some members of the current fourth-year class went out of their way to give us a presentation regarding fourth-year scheduling. God bless their hearts. Turns out that there is SO much that I have to figure out between now and the start of my final year of medical school in late May. This includes figuring out if I want to do away rotations or not, deciding which acting internships and ICU rotation I want to complete, what electives I want to take, what to do with my “flex” blocks, where I want to apply for residency, when I want to take both parts of Step 2 (I literally just registered this exam a couple days ago…here we go AGAIN 😒), who to ask for letters of recommendations, yadda, yadda, yadda. Decisions, decisions. And I gotta really start figuring this out sooner rather than later.

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Quite a bit of pressure, don’t you think? Luckily, I have a good amount of people to talk to, including an assigned career advising counselor, who can help me figure all of this out. And I’m most definitely going to be hitting them up, believe that.

Remember that meeting that I had to set up for my “Less Than Satisfactory” performance on the rapid-style CPX that I told you about back in my Stroke of Misfortune post? Well I finally had it a few days ago with the clinical skills course director and we talked about how I did and what I could do to improve my performance for the next CPX in May. The main thing that I need to work on is quickly coming up with an accurate assessment and plan while writing up the patient note in less than ten minutes. So with that said, I’ll be specifically focusing on that skill between now and May, because I’ll be damned if I can’t move onto fourth year due to another “Less Than Satisfactory” performance with some standardized patients. Also, I plan to ace the Step 2 Clinical Skills portion. Sooo yeah, I got some work to do in order to transform this temporary setback into a major comeback!

On that note, I’m gonna go ahead and sign off for today! Have a fantastic week and be sure to take some time to reflect on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rest of the civil rights activists sacrificed in order to make our lives and this country a better place! And wish me luck on this Neurology shelf exam! 😄

“If you can’t fly, then run: if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

– Black Man, M.D.

Time Stops For No One

Welp, here we are again. The beginning of yet another rotation.

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I start my Neurology rotation tomorrow and judging by the email I received over the weekend regarding scheduling and the expectations of this new rotation, it’s going to be a really busy four weeks. Well, technically I’ll be in this clerkship for six weeks thanks to our two-week long Winter Break. So in all honesty, this rotation is going to be very manageable and I’ll have ample study time to dedicate to the upcoming shelf exam. However, in an interesting turn of events, the shelf exam isn’t worth as much in this rotation (only 10% of grade) as it usually is in the other ones (usually about 20-25%). Instead, there is apparently a quiz or set of quizzes based on lectures that will be given to us during the rotation that is worth 30% of our overall grade. Yeah you read that right.  THIRTY PERCENT!!! Why this is the case, I haven’t a clue. Kind of reminds me of the first couple of years of med school, with the lectures and tests and all. I guess I’ll have a better sense of what this strange curriculum is all about during Orientation tomorrow. I’m also going to be going back to a 6 AM starting time starting on Tuesday for the inpatient service this week…I literally haven’t started a shift at 6 AM since the beginning of October during my first week in Pediatrics. That’s going to be fun.

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But then I work in the outpatient setting next week, where I’ll be starting around 8 AM! And then I’ll go back to a 6 AM start time the week after break and then alternate yet again to an outpatient setting the final week of the rotation. So as you can see, there’s going to be quite a bit of hustle and bustle in these upcoming weeks. Hopefully I don’t show up in the wrong place at the wrong time at any point during the rotation! I’ve definitely done that before in the past, and it wasn’t a fun experience. 😅😂

The Psychiatry shelf exam I took this past Friday to finish up my Psych rotation wasn’t too bad of an exam overall, although it was a bit more challenging than I was expecting. Actually, let me rephrase that. There were some tough questions asked that seemed to have come from nowhere. Tough as in I would not have ever known to review that specific material, because it was random as hell. But for the vast majority of the test, I did feel adequately prepared and I ended up having a very generous amount of time leftover to review the few questions that gave me trouble. As for the week leading up to exam day, I spent it observing psychiatric interviews in the outpatient setting in the mornings and helping out in the Emergency Department in the afternoons/evenings. Both of those settings made way for some valuable learning experiences, and I was reminded about the fact that you just never know what people around you are going through on an everyday basis.

During one of the afternoons last week, my whole class had to attend a mandatory meeting in order to discuss what scheduling for fourth-year rotations, residency interviews and Step 2 is going to look like.

Wait a minute. Hollll’ up.

FOURTH year?!? Step TWO???

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Like, how?? I’ve just recently gotten the hang of the third-year lifestyle; ain’t no way in hell I’m ready for residency applications yet! And Step 1 may have been like eight months, but that doesn’t mean that I’m all gung-ho about taking another one of them marathon exams! I don’t even know when I should take Step 2 yet, but the time is already ticking to register for both the Clinical Knowledge and the Clinical Skills parts! 😰Thankfully, the true purpose of the meeting was to just make us aware about the timeline of events that will be taking place soon and was not intended to make us nervous or anything. Regardless, I am now acutely aware that time is starting to move a bit too fast for my liking…

Speaking of time moving fast, I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this post because I need to eat dinner and enjoy the rest of my night before diving headfirst into my next rotation. One quick sidenote before I finish though. Believe it or not, I saw the Nutcracker for the first time this past weekend! To be honest, I only went because my girlfriend wanted to see it, so I got us tickets as an early birthday present for her. I literally didn’t know it was a ballet until I was on the site about to purchase the tickets lol. The show definitely exceeded my expectations, and I didn’t realize how many Christmas anthems came from this one production! I was really impressed at the choreography of the dancers, and at just how well they synced with the music of the orchestra throughout the whole show. I didn’t think that I would ever appreciate a ballet as much as I did last night, but that’s exactly what happened. We then got some hot chocolate at a nearby bakery and “enjoyed” the winter wonderland that we were left with after this weekend’s snowfall.

Be sure to have a ravishing week! And get yourself ready for the holiday season! 😄😄😄

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.