Medical School Rotation: Family Medicine Clerkship

Sunday, December 28, 2014
*Disclaimer: My experience on every rotation I post is very site-specific. It may not necessarily apply to your clerkships. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

My Family Medicine rotation was quite a blast. I had the opportunity to work in a private practice, and hence accumulated a lot of participation on a variety of patient cases. The doctor was also very keen on getting me to interact and exam people; getting my hands dirty. By the second day I was removing staples, irrigating ears, and giving everyone their flu or Prevnar shot. I got to see all the patients on my own, and on Thursdays I was sent to the Rheumatology clinic to work with another physician (and a second patient population - all suffering from different autoimmune diseases).

What I Liked:
- Meeting entire families and being the go-to-doc for everyone
- Official collector of information and making test results and diseases more understandable for patients
- Everyone had a different medical issue, so it was not monotonous
- There was a mixture of touching patients (physical exams, shots, etc) versus listening (depression follow-ups, ADHD med adjustments, etc)
- Seeing a 9-day-old followed by a 90-year-old!
- Brushing up on a wide array of medications
- Learning about autoimmune diseases, presentations and meds.
- Being with amazing staff, and one of the best doctor's I've ever worked with.
- Nice hours; having a life is great.
- For many of these patients, you are more than just a doctor, you are extended family!

What I Disliked
- When patients get very sick, or pass away, a family doc is much more emotionally attached to that patient.
- Not being able to see the follow-ups of the interesting cases because the get referred.
- I wish I had more knowledge to do the above.
- It got tedious when there was a ton of physicals for healthy people. Unfortunately, for medical students, healthy people are le boring. (I feel terrible saying that. However, they are such a huge inspiration, especially if they got to the level they did due to major changes in diet, exercise and medication compliance. It really keeps you going, nice and optimistic).

How I Studied
We had the FMCases final exam, not an NBME.
- I did all 40 cases, and then wrote notes on the pdf summary files. I put them in sheet protectors and only took a few with me at a time to study with during breaks. It was great for keeping liquids off my notes.
- The day before the exam I completed all the assessment questions for each case (~200Q's)
- Throughout the rotation I read all of the Case Files for Family Medicine textbook
- In my pocket notebook where I take notes on my patients, I also wrote tons of information and taped several drug lists. This was great for the exam!

Coke is the best for keeping me awake while studying. Coffee is hit or miss!

image source: click on pics!

Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27, 2014
This is my 4th year celebrating American Thanksgiving, and I'm still in awe at how quickly time has flown. I haven't lived in Canada, specifically my lovely city of Toronto, for what seems like ages. It is painstakingly obvious that I've missed tremendous milestones of family and friends during this period, so I could pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. In order to keep my mind off of this predicament, I thought I'd share a list of the many aspects of my life I am truly grateful for:

+ Being healthy and in one piece. 
(This one comes from being in hospitals and seeing very sick, depressed patients.)

+ Having a great family, and a super-loving & self-sacrificing one to boot!

+ Friends that don't forget about me, especially when I hibernate. Thanks guys! *little hand wave*

+ Being in a relationship with someone who is accommodating, open-minded, and supportive.

+ The opportunity to study medicine & all the trials and tribulations that come with it.

+ Having a roof over my head, heat in the winter, and access to water & great food (be it the grocery store or restaurants).

+ Mentors

+ Great doctors who love teaching.

+ Review books for shelf exams.

+ French Vanilla Creamer

+ Netflix

+ My online friends!!! *.*

+ Great stationary, with cute designs and nice paper quality.

+ Blue pens that write smoothly and don't skip.

+ Fleece lined leggings and gloves. Oooh babyyy....

+ Information highway, aka The Internet.

Tell me friends, what's on your list?!
image source: papermag

Daily Inspo & Peds

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hey amigos!
I'm just starting my third week of pediatrics, and thus far it has been much more enjoyable than I thought. I have three really great doctors as my preceptors, and they've made learning difficult concepts so much easier. Peds docs in general are just super nice, friendly people. It's never intimidating to ask questions, and that is such a plus for a medical student. Textbooks teach you very 'standard' clinical situations, but reality is more complicated!
Currently, I'm cuddled up in bed, with a diving movie in the background, whilst blogging. I'm as happy as a clam right now. Yay!!

What are all of you up to this week? AAAaaand has anyone tried the peg pants from ASOS yet? (I love their patterns and colors, which I'd like to add to my work wardrobe.)

image sources: madamederosa, AKDO tile, Chanel Accessories, dance leap, collagevintage

Forest Trail

Saturday, November 08, 2014
Hey everyone!

Here's a quick update on life: I've moved to a different location for my new clerkship (Pediatrics!), and I've officially unpacked my winter wardrobe. It's mostly sweaters, but that's okay... I'll find pants eventually. Below are a few quick photos from a brunch & nature walk The Boy and I had a few weeks ago. It's always fun to get out of the medschool hermit life. I have the pleasure of seeing another Toronto friend this weekend, and I'm so so happy about it. I haven't been home since August and it's wonderful when a tiny slice of my city comes to see little ol' me. How have all of you been?! I hope you're enjoying the new season, and please stay bundled up!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Medical School Rotation: Psychiatry Clerkship

Sunday, November 02, 2014
source- northcoastjournal
What I liked
- Getting to see first hand a patient in a manic, or psychotic, or severely depressed state. As students we read how these cases would present themselves, but experiencing it in real life takes it to another level.
- Having the full role of an intern (we worked directly with attendings, no residents at this site). We would round on our patients in the morning, write progress notes and/or full psychiatric evaluations, and then present to the psychiatrist. She would encourage us to create our own treatment plan with drug dosages and all, which was challenging but a great learning experience.
- Since this is psychiatry, we get to spend a lot of time with patients learning about their life and challenges they've faced (and sometimes continue to face).
- Since this was an inpatient unit, I got to see VERY ILL patients directly from the ER. A few experiences that continue to stick out were 2 schizophrenic patients with severe auditory hallucinations, a bipolar patient with active psychosis, and pt in severe major depressive episode with no response to medication (she was schedule for ECT after my last day on the clerkship). I'm telling you guys, I was so lucky to end up at this site.
- Age and class status do not protect you from 'disease of the brain'. There continues to be this notion that being mentally ill is your fault, and you can think it away. IT IS NOT. I wish some of the more ignorant members of society could get to see what I did.
- I was at a hospital site that really enforced appropriate follow-up care. Okay, so what? Doesn't every medical institute do that? Not exactly. We were right in the middle of Chicago, and many admissions were of homeless men and women. The sad reality of poverty due to mental illness was ever present on the unit, and it was a mad cycle that fed itself. However, there was an amazing team of social workers that found shelters and doctors for their patients, and it allowed me to have a small glimmer of hope for their future.
- Psychiatrists are pretty awesome, chill, and have a good sense of humor. I liked that. Everyone was funny, including the staff!
- I had the opportunity to also see a child psych session, as well as an eating disorder management appointment. Both very eye-opening and something I would've loved to see more of.
- My attending had a meme wall about psychiatry. ITWASAWESOME.
- [Just an aside, I got to be at my apartment for this clerkship, walk to work, and see my roomies everyday! #winning]
- Also.....Psychiatry is totally my jam.

writing progress notes @ the hospital - pretty scarves - an afterwork snack & studying - quirky kids books
What I disliked
- Seeing a patient readmitted only a few weeks after his last discharge; it feels like you've 'failed' the patient, although there's no way to force someone into outpatient substance abuse treatment. Substance abuse is a difficult road to recovery.
- The full reality of mental health within the sphere of society and healthcare. As I mentioned before, there was a strong link between being mentally ill and being in poverty. A lot of these patients did not have access to appropriate medical experts when they first experienced pscyhotic/manic breaks, and they lived this self-destructive life that could have been less overwhelming if they had the right medication & psychiatrists to help them along.

Tips for studying 
Start UWorld early - I finished it in two weeks and had all of my notes written by the third week.
Lange Q&A for Psychiatry - completed one pass, and reviewed a few chapters I was weak on.
Psychiatry section of First Aid for Step 2 - I made little index cards off of this chapter (the first two weeks) and kept them in my pocket throughout the rotation to help me out.
Pocket Psychiatry book (from my medical school's bookstore; I cannot find it online!) - great resource to use while rotating.
UpToDate & AccessMedicine - I used these two sources for my presentations and pre-reading for other student's lunch presentations. Great information!
Notebook - Again, I carried around a notebook with me to track my patients, take notes, and do a little something different. I've started adding in commonly used medications for each rotation, and in this book I pasted in charts of pscyh meds + dosages + sideffects. You can find these charts on AccessMedicine if you look under Tables for Current Diagnosis Psychiatry and some of their Pharmacology textbooks.

My First Aid for Step 2 index cards, plus my BF's annotated Lange. I have a sheet to write notes on concepts not covered in UWorld or FA but may show up on the NBME.
Shelf exam tips
UWorld - reviewed my notes 2 times before the exam, and redid my incorrect questions. (Almost 2 passes)
Lange - reviewed my weak chapters after finishing all the Q's (Almost 2 passes)
Plussss, all the studying I did above throughout the clerkship.

Studying in bed before sleepy time!

That's it for now. Hopefully I will have my family medicine rotation in review post up much earlier! I'm crossing my fingers they will update my grade quickly this time around.


Fall Outfit Inspo - 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Hi everyone! 
I have another shelf exam coming up next Friday, so I've been hunkering down and studying! Below are a few images I've saved as outfit inspo for the season. The weather here has been bonkers, hot -cold - cold - hot. Ah well... Also, I will be putting up the Psychiatry Clerkship guide once my final grade is posted (5 weeks and I'm still waiting!), but I've already written tips for the shelf exam since I did well and the results were logged fast.

I hope everyone has been enjoying fall. My DSLR cord was left at my apartment, and I haven't been there in 3-4 weeks, so I can't upload any photos to the blog. Sorry about that!
Who What Wear
Atlantic - Pacific
Who What Wear
Emerson Fry
Fashion Gone Rouge
Collage Vintage - **I'm 95% sure that's a traditional folkloric Portuguese scarf from Minho region. Going to call my mom and tell her to dig mine out because I totally want to wear it now!

Hope you've enjoyed the post. 
Tell me your favorite trends for the season, and what you plan to purchase for the Autumn/Winter period!


Things I Love Lately: Roses and Fall

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Love these blue chairs! [tumblr]
Hey friends!

I thought I'd do this feature again when I have time during rotations. It's such a great time to reflect, and see what great opportunities life has thrown at you. Or to just share some fun stuff! #nerdlife

1. Getting to drive again in the mornings. Even if there's bad traffic, I love hearing some hip-hop on the radio, and drinking my coffee at stop lights. It's a fun meditative process before work.

2. New stationary for a new rotation!

3. Speaking of new rotation, I just started my family medicine clerkship with the sweetest doctor ever (and the staff are hilarious). Hopefully everything keeps going well!

4. Packing healthy lunches. As you may have noticed, I got to eat out a ton during my psychiatry rotation, and it was such a fun time but I definitely needed to get back to my normal fruits & veggies. I've been keeping better track of my calcium intake too, since it's a bit tough being lactose intolerant. The family doc is also a super healthy woman, and acts as great inspiration. Maybe next week I'll try to up my water intake!

5. I finally got around to finishing Catching Fire after organizing my time well. I think I'll try to finish Mockingjay before the rotation ends. It's all about time management, friends! That and taking advantage of the slower rotations before getting slammed by the hard ones (re: surgery, ob/gyn, internal med)!

6. Doing lots of shopping, and finally going out to the movie theatre after a long hiatus. We were able to still catch "Guardians of the Galaxy" and I adored Groot. I definitely need this baby groot for my window sill or bookcase.

7. Flowers. Any kind, as long as they're pastel or vibrant. We have dusty pink roses in the kitchen now and they bring a big smile to my face every morning.

   I make a similar variant for lunch, but this one is going to be next on my list: Tomato, cucumber, avocado salad.

Please tell me some of the great stuff you've been up to in the comments, email, or insta/twitter!


Where to Eat in Chicago: Lincoln Park + Lakeview

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Hi friends!

I just finished my psychiatry rotation in Chicago, and it was so amazing. First off, I love this specialty! It was always near the top of my list for preferred fields, and it still remains there. Secondly, there was tons of AMAZING places to dine at during lunch or linner. Below are Chantelle-tested eateries in the Lincoln Park & Lakeview area.
Bittersweet - I've been hunting for macarons for a while now, and I'm glad to report these were just as delicious as the puffs of sweetness found in Nadege (Toronto). Unfortunately, they have only a small selection of flavors (~4). I was able to try the creme brulee tart as well, and the cream was light and delicious, without being too sweet and nauseating.
DMK - burgers the size of my torso, cooked to perfection. Take a peek over at their menu, it's quite extensive and they have an eclectic combinations of toppings and mixtures. The atmosphere is hip and fun, and I'm positive it's a bangin' place for drinks in the evening, too.

Fish Bar - HOLY GEEBUS! I had the Satchmo Po'Boy and I could eat that everyday...forever. That's how delicious it was. It's breaded shrimp, crawfish, roasted garlic aioli, and b&b pickles all loaded onto a nice toasty bun. My fellow colleague also convinced me to try oysters for the first time; now I'm no oyster connoisseur, but I found them fresh and amazingly tasty. Can't believe I didn't jump on that bandwagon sooner!

Yummy Yummy - I had some sesame chicken & rice, but they're known for the smoothies. Hoping to check it out again! The dishes weren't out of this world, but great if you're starving and need something quick. I wandered in here after reading the good feedback on foursquare.

I Dream Of Falafel (aka IDOF) - Chicken Shawarma party in my mouth! Lots of flavor, juicy and hefty for the low price. You will be full and satisfied. I also tried their quirky foreign pop, and it's exactly like pink crush but sweeter. It's practically my new kryptonite. (I believe this is a new chain resto.) 

Tandoor Char House - Another place with SOLID FOOD. I've tried the chicken bariyani (yum), but I am in loooove with the Tandoori Chicken Tiki Masala. Like, there's not even a picture for this one because the food was devoured in 15 minutes. I die. Dead. Just go.

Chicago Bagel Authority - I picked up a veggie pizza bagel. It was crunchy and flavorful, with a nice amount of tomato (which I lovee). It was also not too overloaded with cheese, so my lactose intolerance was none the wiser.

Blaze Pizza - I believe this is some sort of chain pizzeria from California, and it's such a fun place. The 11' pizzas are lightweight, and large enough for one person to eat without feeling like a heavy whale afterwards. This is such a bonus in my books! They have several variations to choose from, as well as S'MORES.

Big & Littles: I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and hawaiian pork taco. The taco was perfection, and the flavor combination was divine for those of you who like a little sweet kick with your meat. I'd recommend ordering 4-5 tacos if you want to be full by the end of the meal. You can skip the grilled cheese; nothing spectacular.

5411 Empanadas: I tried 4 different types, and the caramelized onion & malbec beef were my favorite. My friends also suggested the banana + nutella empanada. It's a lot of fun discovering these pockets of texture and spice. I suggest going with a larger group of friends and trying out one of each!

Zizi's Cafe: I was famished after my shift at the hospital, and had this yummy meal to eat, full of protein and Mediterranean flair. I got the beef doner kebab sandwich with a side of fries. The portion sizes at this place are quite decent, so there's left over to bring home.

Native Foods Café- This was the first time I tried this chain. I had the Morrocco Rockin' Bowl; a mix of spicy, sweet and veggies. I actually couldn't believe how full I got halfway through. I chose the tofu version, and found the flavoring unique and consistent with the dish. My boyfriend, however, had tofu that tasted like french fries. I LOVED IT!  

Cafe Luigi Pizza - I was starving and needed a quick fill-me-up on the go. This place had insanely good reviews for their New york style pizza, and a deluxe veggie & pepperoni slice the size of my face was calling my name. Hit the spot, nothing magical. I'm going to go back and try it again though, since I didn't order their specialty dishes.

La Tacorea - To be quite frank, I was not a big fan of this place. I felt the chicken combination wasn't the best of both worlds (Mexican & Korean). It may be simply a personal preference, since I don't like these two cuisines being mixed together. The others in my group seemed to have enjoyed their meals, particularly the beef dish!

Molly's Cupcakes - I want to live here. The cupcakes have freaking FILLINGS. I tried the cake batter flavor, and there was literally CAKE BATTER oozing from the center. Oh goodness, the heavens sang. I had the chance to taste 4 other flavors, creme brûlée took close second.
GSP - Great burgers but not the best. Loved the waffle fries, and the pear cider. The latter is great for those of you who are not fond of the taste of alcohol.
Batter & Berries: I tried out the Banana-Nut Belgique which includes caramelized banana and maple butter smothered on a warm, freshly made waffle. It was a total mouth party. And none of the sweet breakfast plates need maple syrup, you just eat it with the homemade maple butter...and it's perfect. I also tasted the super flight french toast, and some hash browns. Absolutely fantastic.

Needless to say, we all gained a little weight this rotation.
Thanks Chicago! 


Medical School Rotation: OB/GYN Clerkship

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Disclaimer: I am aware a lot of my experiences are site-specific. I had the opportunity to go to a very 'hands-on' teaching hospital, and was able to participate A TON!

What I liked:
I loved delivering babies, especially when the attendings let me do nearly everything.
Pregnant women are (usually) super awesome, happy people.
On L&D - Getting to do the entire H&P, and following up with the patient every couple hours. Bonus pts if I was allowed to do ultrasounds.
Babies are freakin' cute!
Gyn Surgery - I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Surgery is so methodical and meticulous, which appeals to my personality type/character. Also, I got props on my suturing skills (practice at home kids, it really pays off!)
That time I put in a trocar... 
Having rounds at the beginning of the day where we discussed specific topics - it really helped me study ahead for the shelf, even though I spent hours reviewing all the ACOG bulletins the night before.
One particular clinic where the attending let me do all the gyn exams, pap smears, IUD removals and prenatal checks. Booya!
Scrubbing into an emergency ovarian torsion.
Three words: Da Vinci Robot.

What I disliked:
Ridiculously early hours - this has been the only time I literally couldn't function without coffee due to so little sleep.
Since this was my first rotation, and the intern's first month as well; it was very confusing and disorganized and stressful the first couple weeks.
I wish I knew more going into OB/GYN (it's not covered much in the MS2 curriculum or Step 1), and I really disliked feeling overwhelmed/lost, but it was pretty much inevitable at this stage in my education. It was a total ego check.
Standing for 9+ hours straight in back-to-back surgeries, with no food, bathroom or water breaks. I was dying! My arms and back were incredibly sore by the end of the day.
Gyn Onc - I had a really sad experience with one of the patients, and it just made me realize my heart is not strong enough for oncology, ever.
Working call shifts on weekends (womp)
I really disliked how much regular folk & medical professionals underestimate OB/GYN doctors; their job is insane and overwhelming, they deserve much more respect than they get. They're trained in medicine and surgery, work incredibly long hours even as senior attendings, and their malpractice insurance is nuts due to the nature of their job (if any of you have the chance to work in an MFM clinic, you will wonder how some of these little babies end up surviving until delivery. It's so stressful.)

Quick Guide (topics you should know before starting each block)
Labor & Delivery: fetal heart strips, stages of labor, drugs for induction, degrees of laceration, fetal positions
Gyn Surgery - female pelvic and reproductive anatomy, practice tying knots and suturing at home every day
Gyn Onc - know your most common gyn cancers, and the drugs used to treat and prevent reccurence
Clinic - know milestones/guidelines for each trimester of pregnancy, brush up on your STD's & all available contraception, know menopausal symptoms and treatments

How I studied for the shelf (I would recommend getting through all of these; I was unfortunately strapped for time at this location but ended up doing well):
UWorld - 2 passes, written notes on the 'main points', and reviewing all the charts
UWise - 1 pass, only had time to review half my notes afterwards, but I did 4 comprehensive tests
Case Files - only had time to get through 60% of this book, try to do it all at least once
2 NBME exams - underscored me by 10-15% but kicked my butt into studying extra

Final TIP: Prep for rounds every night, proactively see as many patients as possible, and volunteer to stay late on interesting cases. The more patients you see the better, especially since you'll learn a lot of skills on the wards that you can't learn properly from a book (pelvic exam, proper use of speculum, how to talk to the patient when they're in stirrups, learning how to hold & manipulate the baby as it's being delivered, suturing on real skin, etc)
    If your site for this rotation is not engaging, and residents don't allow you to do much then be pushy, ask for patients, and do an ACOG Practice Bulletin every morning/lunch break with other students on your team. 


P.S. If there's anything else you'd like me to add, just leave a comment or send me an e-mail!
image source: geekinsider

Medical School / / Clinic Oufits

Monday, September 08, 2014
Hi everyone!

I thought I would bring back another round of fashionable, professional clothing since it's so difficult to find appropriate items, and pretty easy to get into a style rut. I've also gone along and tried to find some similar pieces online to help you on your way. I'm almost done my second rotation, and I'm tired of repeating the same "look" (but I've scored a lot of polka dots, and bright colors lately!) Let's jump right in!
Sleek & Chic
Vibrant Lady

Asos floral midi dress
Caramel Love

Playful Patterns & Colors

I've also updated the blog's Shop section (top menu bar) with my new casual fall favourites! For those of you who have no need to dress up for work/school.

I hope you've enjoyed this feature. I'll try to post them more frequently since it's now a relevant part of my everyday life. 

What are your favorite quirky, yet professional pieces? Send me a link via the comments, email, or insta/twitter!


Image source: 123456

Galena Adventures & Stunning Landscapes

Wednesday, September 03, 2014
This wonderful long weekend I made my way over to Galena, IL for the day. The Boy and I had an entertaining, albeit rainy, 3 hour drive to this small town known for its infamous "Main Street". And let me tell you, that ride was glorious; there were oodles of rolling hills and valleys along the way (as well as some popping ears!). Feel free to scroll down and see some of the photos near the end, where we pulled off to the side of the road to catch some landscape photographs.

Galena is straight out of a movie set. Its buildings are protected by historical site certification, and the architecture is mostly 19th century. One of the best aspects of this location, is that it's also built into on a hill, so there are several steep staircases transporting you from one scene to another. It's gorgeous, and completely encompassed by greenery. It's almost like being transported back in time while getting hugged by Mother Nature.

So without further ado, here's our photo diary (featuring my face, finally!):

Main Street! This is the downtown core, and where the staircases of doom stream off of. The shops are great, and they all have interesting colors and typography on their signs. I was able to pick up an amazingly scented handmade olive-oil soap bar at one of the many boutiques.
A quick shot halfway through our climb to the church on the hill. Phew, what a workout! My boyfriend made me take these four times. He loved it.

A new fave coffee shop that I may never see again. I loved their chai iced latte and the vintage decor! There was live music again (remember I mentioned this happened in Minneapolis? Loves it!), and The Boy and I had a round of chess whilst sipping our drinks. I lost, as usual. Haha!

Below begins the landscape shots on our ride back home. Just too beautiful. Thank you universe for this view.

Until we meet again, Galena!