September 2010 Archives

The Changing Face of Medicine

| No Comments

"Even after all of these years, you still have fun."
-University of Minnesota Medical School Alumni

This past week I had the fun opportunity to have breakfast with University of Minnesota Medical School alumni. This event was organized by the Minnesota Medical Foundation and was a way for current students to interact with alumni and thank them for the support they have provided.

The table I sat with had alumni from the class of 1960 and 1970 and it was interesting to hear the path they have taken and where they are now. It was also fascinating to compare notes about what medical school was like decades before to what is now. Some things are still the same, such as the use of the phrase "body buddy" as a term of endearment for the classmates you share a cadaver with in anatomy lab and the classes had roughly about 170 students.

However, some things are different. The curriculum is different and the make-up of the student body has changed. The alumni were impressed with the curriculum's emphasis on collaborative work and integrated course material. They also noted that while my class is about 49% female and about 20% minority students, the class of 1970 had only 8 females and 2 minority students. Thus, we all were impressed at how drastically things have changed within a span of a few decades.

However, the biggest takeaway I got from the whole experience is how much these alumni enjoyed what they are doing, which was inspiring. Even though it has only been 7 weeks of school, there have been times when I have felt overwhelmed, but seeing the alumni happy with what they are doing is motivating and reminds me of the reasons why I want to pursue a career in medicine. In particular one alumni told me that even though he has been working for decades, "Even after all of these years, you still have fun."

Becoming a "Pro"

| No Comments

"So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip."
-Will Parrot

Before last Friday, I didn't know that dental therapist was an occupation, how humor can be an integral part of the health profession, or that there are approximately 800 students enrolled in University of Minnesota Academic Health Center programs. However, after classes on Friday, those were among the things I took away from the Foundations of Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration (FIPCC) class. FIPCC is part of a new initiative to help students in health professional fields better learn what it means to be professional and demonstrate interprofessional teamwork. This course entails meeting with small groups of students from the different health fields, such as dentistry, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine, completing online modules, and group discussions to help with professional growth and development as well as help students learn about other health fields and how to effectively work together.

So far we had the kickoff event which included several speakers, an overview of the course, and a brief introduction to our fellow group members. One of the take away messages that stuck with me (besides the story of how one speaker illustrated the power of humor by telling us how he received a warning instead of a speeding ticket when he pulled out a Monopoly "Get Out of Jail Free" card for the officer), was the above Will Rogers quote that touches on the importance of maintaining professionalism.

As aspiring health professionals, we are entering a field in which people are literally entrusting us with their lives and as the Spiderman quote goes "with great power, comes great responsibility." We have a responsibility to adhere to the accepted professional code of conduct and values. A responsibility to use our specialized knowledge to the best of our ability. A responsibility to respect the needs and concerns of those we serve. A responsibility to enhance the health and well-being of others. Therefore it is important to perform these responsibilities with honesty and integrity.

The Different Aspects of Medicine

| No Comments

"The good physician treats the disease,
The great physician treats the patient who has the disease."
-Sir William Osler

I am now officially done with the 5th week of medical school (which means 5 more weeks until midterm week!) and as you may guess, it has been a busy 5 weeks. In just a little over a month, my class has learned about genetic diseases, the biochemistry involved in blood coagulation, what muscle tissue looks like, how to dissect cadavers, and so much more.

In addition to the science and more technical aspects of medicine, we have also been working on the more "humanistic" skills involved in medicine in a course called Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM). In ECM class we have discussed strategies for interacting with patients as well as practice on how to do medical interviews and physical exams. During week 3, we learned how to do physical exams on the upper extremities on fellow students and this past week we practiced conducting medical interviews and taking patient histories on a standardized patient or a trained actor who comes in with a hypothetical problem. Thus, it has been a very interesting experience being able to combine the material we learn in class to real-world applications. For example, in anatomy we learned about the muscles in the rotator cuff and we were able to apply the knowledge of what those muscles do during the physical exams. While conducting patient interviews, we had to recall different diseases and their symptoms and use that knowledge to guide the questions we asked during the interview. And in all honesty, it has been challenging.

Being able to integrate all of the information we have learned and to think quickly on our feet is a skill one must have. You must be able to draw upon your technical and medical knowledge while remembering that the patient is a person and not a disease. In ECM class we read about patient stories where physicians have focused too much on treating the disease and not making sure that rapport and partnership is established between the patient and doctor. Being able to treat the emotional needs and concerns of the patients is just as important as treating their physical ailments. A patient must be viewed as a person as a whole. Thus, there must be a fine balance that is struck between the more scientific and humanistic side of medicine and finding that balance is something that will take time and practice.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2010 is the previous archive.

October 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.