Clerkship Update: Urban Family Medicine

Clerkship Updates! I have just completed a month in Urban Family Medicine and I absolutely loved it! It definitely solidified my interest in and passion for Family Medicine. Most of my days were spent at a private Family Medicine clinic. I also spent time at a Dermatology, ENT and walk-in clinic, a senior’s residence and palliative care center.

What I learned from this rotation

This rotation was fantastic! There was frequent, useful one-on-one teaching and feedback which helped me to grow in my knowledge and clinical skills. I was constantly challenged to think more and more independently. I had the opportunity to manage complex patients and multi-complaint visits. I developed some new skills/knowledge in Dermatology, ENT and how to manage geriatric patients.

What I enjoyed most

I very much enjoyed the one-on-one teaching, the positive learning environment, the variety of cases I saw and the variety of work environments. I loved interacting with the patients and looked forward to going to work each day!

What I struggled with the most

The greatest challenge for me on this rotation was coming up with management plans for the more complex patients. However, by the end of the rotation, I felt that I had a better grasp of how to do this.

My take home message

Urban Family Medicine was a fantastic rotation and was definitely one of my favorite rotations. I loved the variety of cases I saw, interacting with patients of different ages and  getting to see patients who have been followed by the same physician for years and who know their patients very well. I also enjoyed the flexibility and variety of work environments. I really look forward to a future practice in Family Medicine!

Next rotation….Out-Patient Psychiatry. Stay tuned!

Featured image: Family photo 2017

Advertisements

The Big Reveal: My Specialty Choice…and Tips for Choosing a Specialty

After months of reflection, prayer and exposure to different medical specialties, I have finally made a decision on which specialty I would like to pursue! I have to say that I am very excited to be at this point and feel very clear-minded about the path forward!

Choosing a medical specialty is not easy. There are so many of them to choose from! Many are interesting and potentially rewarding! This blog post will not only announce my specialty choice but also give some tips to help you with the decision process.

So without further ado….

I have chosen to go into…..FAMILY MEDICINE!

Why Family Medicine?

  • Getting to work with patients of all ages from babies to elderly
  • Variety of work contexts: clinics, hospital, ER, long-term care homes
  • Good work-life balance
  • Flexibility of practice: one can build a practice based on preferences and also needs in the community
  • Opportunities to work in both urban and rural areas
  • Good job outlook: family doctors are needed everywhere
  • Building long-term relationships with patients
  • Being involved in every aspect of my patient’s care (holistic approach)
  • Having generalist knowledge on a variety of disciplines (I find almost everything in the field of medicine fascinating!)
  • Intellectually stimulating
  • Opportunities to do minor surgical procedures
  • Opportunities to be involved in public health

These are just some of the many reasons that Family Medicine has grasped my attention and my passion! I am thrilled to be pursuing it!

Tips for Choosing a Specialty

  • Keep an open mind: I started off with keeping an open mind about the variety of specialties out there.
  • Do your research: I read up on the various specialties and talked to staff physicians and residents in the field about their experiences.
  • Wait to go through your clinical rotations first: Although reading about specialties is helpful, they do not always give the full picture on the lifestyle and work environment of a particular specialty. Therefore, I feel it is important to actually go through the clinical rotations before committing fully to or dismissing a particular specialty. You may be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised!
  • What can you live with (or not!)? Through the course of this year, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to most specialties and obtained a taste of what I liked and did not like in each specialty. There is no perfect specialty but there are aspects of each specialty that I knew I could either live with or not. Similarly, I reflected on what aspects of medicine were important for me and needed to be in that particular specialty for it to be a good fit.
  • What are your priorities? It is important to factor in your priorities, for example, how will going into this specialty affect other important aspects of your life, such as your family life? Hobbies? Commitments? For me, I knew my family and church life are extremely important to me so I needed a specialty that would allow me to continue to devote my time to these aspects of my life.
  • Say “no” to being pressured: For some people, choosing a specialty becomes clear very early on while for others, it takes more time. Avoid the temptation to feel pressured into a decision. Only you can make the decision. Try not to let someone else make it for you.
  • What are the community needs? Another important aspect to consider in your specialty choice is the needs in the community. What resources for our patients are lacking and where could you step in to fill in the gaps?

I hope you find these tips useful in your decision making process. If you have further questions about clerkship rotations, specialty choice or anything else you would like to discuss, feel free to comment below or reach out to me at thepotentialdoctor@gmail.com. It is always a pleasure hearing from you!

Suggested reading materials: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty by Brian Freeman

Featured image: courtesy of Kunal Chopra

Clerkship Update: Rural Family Medicine

Clerkship updates! I just completed my 4-week rural family medicine rotation and I absolutely loved it! My rotation was a mix of clinic, ER and wards. I had the opportunity to see patients of all ages. While on the wards, I was responsible for admitting patients, rounding on them myself each morning, writing prescriptions, ordering tests and coming up with management plans. It was a very rewarding experience!

What I enjoyed the most

I loved working with patients of all ages and the variety of cases I saw each day. You never knew what would come through the door and it forced me to think on my feet! I also was pleasantly surprised at the variety of contexts you could work in as a family doctor. I had always pictured it as being more of a clinic setting  but while on this rotation, I was amazed at what family doctors do in the ER and how much they were responsible for running the wards.

Interestingly, I always thought that working in a clinic would be my preferred setting and while this is still the case, I also found that I enjoyed working in a community hospital (as opposed to a large academic hospital). The staff were great to work with and I really enjoyed the team work and inter-professional collaboration.

The town I worked in was beautiful and I really enjoyed my drive into work each day (which ironically was a shorter commute than driving into my previous urban rotations!)

One of the best things about this rotation was the great work-life balance. I was able to apply myself fully at work during the day and still get to spend a good amount of time with my family and friends.

What I struggled with the most

My greatest challenge on this rotation was communicating and charting in French. But despite my linguistic errors, I found patients and staff to be very understanding and I feel I have improved significantly in my French during the course of this past month.

My take home message

I absolutely LOVED my rural family medicine rotation! There was plenty of variety of cases which were intellectually stimulating. I loved the flexibility of working in different contexts. I also very much like the idea of building long-lasting relationships with my patients and the holistic approach of being involved in all aspects of their care.

Next up is Inpatient Psychiatry. I am looking forward to this rotation because I feel this is the area of medicine that I have the least experience and knowledge in, so it will be a great opportunity for me to build my skills and abilities in taking care of patients with mental health issues.

In other exciting news, I have decided what specialty I will be going into! Stay tuned for my next post, the big reveal!

valleyfield00
The town where I did my rural family medicine rotation (picture taken in the summer courtesy of http://www.tourisme-monteregie.qc.ca)

Featured image: Our little munchkins excited for Christmas!

Med school update…Loving my clinical rotations!

Hello everyone (and welcome to those who just recently started following my blog!)

The month of January has been a month of transition as I moved out of the classroom and into the hospitals and clinics. This new phase of my training is called “Transition to Clinical Practice”. It is to prepare us for third-year clerkship by giving us exposure to real-life medical settings. At this stage, we do not yet have the  level of responsibility of a third-year student but we are still considered a part of the team which is great!

The first 2 weeks were quite the adjustment as no longer was my medical ‘world’ centered around campus but rather in various hospitals and clinics around the city. I ultimately decided to switch from driving to public transport which was an adjustment in itself! But now I feel much more settled and have come to enjoy the pleasant 1-hour train ride to and from the city. I am using the time to study and catch up on emails.

My husband also came up with the excellent idea of listening to audiobooks which I have been doing during my drive to the train station, subsequent subway commute and walks to the clinic/hospital. It has all turned out really well because I am able to come home earlier than last semester since I do not get stuck in traffic! There is always a bright side to new changes, even if they throw us off at first!

Here are my impressions of the rotations I have done so far:

  1. Family medicine: I liked the variety of cases that I saw and that the family doctor/resident has to have such a breadth of knowledge on many subjects. I am looking forward to gaining more exposure in clerkship.
  2. Neurology: I absolutely loved this rotation! I met wonderful attending physicians, residents and patients. I had a variety of experiences from doing consults in the ER to rounding on patients in the wards, to taking a history and examining patients in the clinics. I also had the chance to visit the electrophysiology lab where the Nerve Conduction and EMG studies are performed. There were plenty of opportunities to review CT and MRI scans. Overall, I found this to be a very intellectually stimulating experience. In addition, the patients I met were truly inspiring and humbling as they battled with debilitating and life-changing conditions. Since there are no core rotations in neurology in 3rd year, I am considering taking an elective in neurology in 4th year.

Other than school, the family is doing very well! We have instituted a new family tradition which is for each of us to say something we are grateful for every night at bed-time.  I also have a journal on my bedside table where I jot down a few things I am grateful for every night. This is really helping me to remain thankful and positive despite the busy and demanding weeks!

What’s next? My next rotation is pediatrics which I’m looking forward to! Will post an update on that in the next few weeks.

Keep striving towards your goals! Be positive in the moment and don’t wait to reach your destination in order to find happiness. It’s about the day-to-day living and what things we can be grateful for on a daily basis!

Thanks for reading!

 

Updates on the Second Semester of Medical School

The second semester of medical school is well on its way and it’s been fun, challenging and amazing! From our anatomy labs, I continue to be awed by the beauty and intricacy of the human body. Seeing for oneself how arteries, veins and nerves weave in and out of various organs while trying to piece together the physiological mechanisms that keep us breathing and alive is nothing short of miraculous and fascinating!

We have completed our blocks in Public Health, Respiration, Circulation, Renal and are half-way through Digestion and Metabolism. I am continuing to enjoy my exposure to family medicine which I get to do about 2 to 3 times a month. My favorite aspects of it are the variety of cases you get to see right from children to the elderly. I have enjoyed following up on return patients and getting to practice doing various procedures.

One of my goals in medical school was to ensure I carve out quality time for God, family and hobbies. This has generally been going well! My biggest struggle however has been keeping up with consisent exercise. To help me improve on this, I have downloaded a “30 Day Fitness Challenge” app on my phone which will keep track of my progress.

The kids are doing great! My 5 year old son started taking karate classes (perfect for his high energy personality!) and recently went skating for the first time. His reaction to skating… “Mummy, why do I keep falling?” He also wanted  know if he could bring his snowman inside from the front yard and put it in the freezer to keep it from melting!

My 3 year old daughter is full of funny remarks too. She recently informed us, “Med school is where mummies go and when I become a mummy…..I’m going to med school!”

img_3535
My little girl checking on me!
birthday
Birthday surprise from hubby and the kids!
img_3531-1
Celebrating mummy’s birthday with a family movie night. We watched “The Good Dinosaur”. Loved it!
img_3501
Nerdy birthday gift from hubby!