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The trials and tribulations of birth suite- how to come out without egg on your face and liquor on your clinical clothes
I feel like I’ve seen it all now. From the horror of birth to the horror of adolescence, rotations on women’s and children’s health were not something that a student straight off the medical wards such as myself could have really prepared for. Everything from the emotional experience of a newborn grabbing my finger (stop reminding me it’s a reflex, this baby really does love me) to the physical exhaustion of coming off the fourth night shift in a row changed my attitude towards how we care for both the sick and the well.
Possibly the most unfamiliar of all the experiences I had all semester was that of birth suite. This is not often the realm of the sick, nor that of doctors most of the time- as students you have to relearn how your place differs from the familiarity … Read More »
There are lots of different articles around offering advice for students commencing their medical studies. “Study hard,” “don’t study too hard,” “don’t study too hard but also remember to study at some point.” Hopefully I can offer you some practical points to consider now that you’re nearing the halfway point of your first year that involve a little more than do’s and don’t.
Medicine is hard (but maybe not for the reasons you might think).
There’s a nervous thrill associated with starting a medical degree. On the one hand, you’re super excited because “Yay, you got in,” but also “Oh crap, I thought high school study was difficult, imagine how soul-destroying medical study is going to be!”
But when you break it down, medical study is kind of nice. Yes there’s a lot in the curriculum, but if you fight your way through … Read More »
Hayes’ Practical Skin Cancer Surgery is a practical manual for the surgical management of skin cancer in the outpatient setting for general practitioners and surgical trainees. It is also an essential read for the medical student entering clinical years. The book’s contents has practical relevance to rotations in general practice (particularly for rural attachments), emergency medicine, general surgery and dermatology and this review discusses Practical Skin Cancer Surgery from the medical student perspective.
Practical Skin Cancer Surgery can be split down the middle making it two books for the price of one. Chapters one to seven present an incredibly comprehensive introduction to operative surgery – instrumentation, suturing and knot tying, local anaesthesia and haemostasis. Such a detailed summary of these principles is difficult to come by in surgical textbooks, which often skim over the very basic, everyday skills, which are sometimes … Read More »
Book Review of Mosby’s Pocketbook of Mental Health, 2nd Edition by Muir-Cochrane, Barkway and Nizette
I was asked to review the new edition of Mosby’s Pocketbook of Mental Health, 2nd Edition due to my interest in the specialty. It isn’t a medico-only textbook and is suitable for GPs, nurses, paramedics, police and allied health workers.
I think this text would be excellent for nursing students who are about to start their mental health clinical placements. I really enjoyed working with the nursing students on my last mental health term and whilst some took to it like a duck to water, others were quite nervous. It can be a daunting term, especially if you have never had any experience with people living with mental illness, or it is one of your first clinical placements. Mosby’s Pocketbook of Mental Health, 2nd Edition by Muir-Cochrane, Barkway and Nizette, covers everything you’ll need to know during your term and is … Read More »
Book Review – Gray’s Anatomy for Students, 3rd Edition by Richard Drake, A. Wayne Vogl, and Adam W. M. Mitchell.
I must start my review of the 3rd Edition of Gray’s Anatomy for Students, with a bit of a caveat; I have the anatomy library equivalent of Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection. This includes a number of surgical anatomy books, textbooks from my undergraduate studies, numerous anatomical colour atlases, and the 39th Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice Edition of Gray’s, which was a gift in my final year of my physiotherapy studies. So it was with some excitement that I received the most recent edition of the student volume for review.
This text in its various itineration’s has been on the “must-haves” list for many of the medical and physiotherapy students who I have previously, and currently study with. For many students, anatomy is a subject representing a mix of dread and apprehension for the sheer amount of subject matter and the … Read More »
Book Review – A Primer of Clinical Psychiatry, 2nd Edition by David Castle, Darryl Bassett, Joel King and Andrew Gleason
Primed for Psychiatry
A Primer of Clinical Psychiatry, 2nd Edition is a book written to introduce students to the nature of psychiatry and the common conditions that will be encountered. It describes itself as a ‘broad overview’ and for this reason I found it particularly good for my first foray into mental health. At my medical school, at least, psychiatry wasn’t covered in much detail in the years prior to its dedicated rotation. There were intermittent classes on common issues such as depression, but they were from a more general perspective. For this reason I particularly liked the Primer, since it provided a broad introduction to the pillars of psychiatry, as well as giving me access to specific clinical information on each condition. Split into four parts, I’ll briefly discuss each section and make some general comments on how I used the book … Read More »
Finding A Work-Life Balance
It’s a familiar sight – piles of study to catch up on, multiple assignments to do and you’re sleep deprived. How do you manage to strike a balance between studying, living and watching Game of Thrones? It’s a tough question and certainly something that many of us struggle with from the start of Med School until quite a bit into our degree. Personally, it has taken me most of the past three years to find some sort of semblance of balance. So here is my take on surviving Med School, the “Do-What-You-Want-Most-Of-The-Time” method (name patent pending). The two main aspects of this method are being efficient with your time and doing what you want. So I’ll talk about three broad areas: time efficiency, study efficiency and life.
Most often I find that time flies by far too … Read More »
Conference Report: Rural Doctors Association of Queensland 25th Annual Conference (RDAQ 2014) – A student focused rural health renaissance
Hello Elsevier blog readers. It has been a while since my last contribution. I have just completed a great semester in orthopaedics and critical care and have been on holidays for a week now, so I have no excuse for skimping on entries.
I hope your Queen’s Birthday long weekend was relaxing for those on holidays, and productive for those prepping for exams. Mine was spent at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) Conference in sunny Brisbane. I had managed to get to this conference by entering the medical student case presentation competition. This is the second year they have held the competition, and gives the opportunity for four students to present a case with literature review.
The conference was held at the Sofitel Central, Brisbane, and kicked off with clinical updates in cardiology and a session on social media advocacy. … Read More »
Book Review – Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine 4e – By Peter Cameron, George Jelinek, Anne-Maree Kelly, Anthony F. T. Brown and Mark Little
I wanted this book at the start of the year for my emergency medicine rotation, but I thought I would be patient and wait for the new edition that came out in May. Now the time has come, my patience has paid off and I get to review it for all you loyal readers.
This is a really comprehensive textbook and I recommend it for anyone considering emergency medicine as a specialty, or wanting to do well in exams in their clinical years. It’s such a huge textbook that I don’t really know how to give you a good overview of it, so I thought I’d just list some of my favourite sections.
- Chapter 1: Resuscitation. It includes up to date BLS and ALS guidelines, which are pretty important. During med school one year a lot of our cohort got tripped … Read More »
If you are only ever going to consider purchasing one medical textbook, let Talley and O’Connor’s Clinical Examination be that text. A staple of the medical students’ library of textbooks, Talley and O’Connor rose to popularity because of its unique ability to present clinical teachings in a succinct and orderly manner. I will do my best to address what the text does well and what could be areas of improvement.
First of all, a bit of a summary for those students who haven’t had the pleasure of acquainting yourself with Clinical Examination, A systematic guide to physical diagnosis, 7th edition. Previously it was a wonderful resource for medical students to access and learn about each organ system. Specifically, each system had their own chapter covering history-taking, examinations and integration of clinical findings with pathology. It’s a positive that the authors of … Read More »
Paediatrics in the younger age group is occasionally, as a joke, compared to veterinary medicine. The patients can’t talk, the most important part of any examination is rapport, they are wholly dependent on their caregivers and there is sometimes a very real risk that a badly behaved patient may bite you. Children are often difficult to interpret and can be silently very sick, and the paediatric emergency department is where these similar appearing well and very sick children have to be distinguished. It can be a fine art and one difficult for the student on a short rotation, which is where textbooks like Textbook of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, 2nd Edition come in handy.
This acclaimed reference point, now in its second edition, breaks down common paediatric complaints into easy to read chapters with the main points continually emphasized for your reference. … Read More »
‘Medicine will eat you up and spit you out’ C.H (Rural GP)
A somewhat resisted push moving me from my neat little city life into the (imagined barrenness) of rural living has offered an unexpected fresh perspective into medical practice (and life in general).
I write this piece on my smooth 450km drive back to Sydney after four weeks in Manilla, a small sleepy town, population 2,000. With speckled sunlight, picturesque clear blue sky and rolling (but balding) hills, I find myself almost nostalgic as the country smiles in the back mirror and the dark traffic-dense city looms ahead. Having spent considerable amounts of time over the past month being envious of grazing cattle (such a content and care free life!), I thought I should spend my time on something more…productive, and maybe even useful to others. I share a city girl’s impression … Read More »
Talley and O’Connor’s ‘Clinical Examination’ has been a staple of first year medical students’ book lists for a quarter of a century, since the first edition was published in 1988. The authors have made a large effort to improve upon their already excellent title, and the new layout makes the information even easier to navigate. Before going any further, I feel obligated to disclose my 5th edition of Talley and O’Connor I am using as a comparison text is well-worn and saved my neck before a mini-CEX or two in med school, so don’t expect a completely unbiased review this week!
Although the best feature of the new edition is definitely the updated images and accompanying video tutorials, the restructuring of chapters of the last edition into ‘sections’ presents the data cleanly and in a fashion that allows rapid identification of … Read More »
A while back, Elsevier held a competition on their Elsevier Medical Students Facebook page where medical students could win exciting things such as textbooks and an iPod shuffle by submitting topics they’d like Medical Student Ambassadors to write about. Some of the suggested topics were along the lines of tips for exam success and for being balanced and generally surviving med school.
Given I have only been in med school for two months and have no exam results as yet, I am probably not particularly qualified to be dishing out advice. I can’t really guarantee whether the following will end up a list of helpful suggestions, or just a macabre anatomy of my steadily unravelling mind, the predominant use of which is what NOT to do to succeed in med school. Either way, I hope it’s useful!
So here goes, 5 things that … Read More »
Book review: Emergency Medicine MCQs & Author interviews with De Alwis & Weiner by Dr Claire McAllister
With a week to go until I start my first rotation as an intern, Emergency Medicine, I thought I better test and refresh my knowledge with De Alwis & Weiner’s ‘Emergency Medicine MCQs’. There is also an app version to this, but as I’m too much of a non-conformist to have an iPhone or Android, I had to settle for the print version.
So I wrote that leading paragraph about three months ago, and then got too overwhelmed with the challenging life of an intern in the baptism of fire that is the ED, that I’ve only just now got around to opening the book again. So here we go.
This is a challenging book – I’d say it’s not for the average med student. It’s for gunners, fourth years and junior doctors with an interest in Emergency Medicine or Emergency Medicine … Read More »
Book Review by Maverick Lee: Clinical Examination: A systematic guide to physical diagnosis, 7th Edition by Talley & O’Connor
Perfect for the fresh-faced first years to pre-ward veterans!
A sparkly new 7th edition of Talley & O’Connor’s Clinical Examination: A systematic guide to physical diagnosis was recently published. Previous editions of this book have been dubbed by fellow colleagues as one of their “bibles”. Before I even begin talking about this new edition, Clinical Examination, A systematic guide to physical diagnosis, 7th Edition by Talley & O’Connor is a personal “must-have” when it comes to textbooks, it truly does form the basis of your clinical skills.
Let’s start with the cover! I’m bit of a design nerd, so naturally, I love the front cover! It’s sleek and modern.
Often an underrated and under developed section of any book is its contents. Comparative to the 6th edition, the contents section is much more comprehensive, with an easier layout to navigate through.
Some features that most stood … Read More »
Book Review: Clinical Examination: A systematic guide to physical diagnosis, 7th Edition by Talley & O’Connor
Clinical Examination: A systematic guide to physical diagnosis, 7th Edition by Talley and O’Connor has been a staple textbook for medical students and doctors for years now. I certainly spent a lot of time with the 6th edition in the lead up to previous exams and getting to look through the new 7th edition was excellent preparation for my first set of clinical OSCEs. I’m going to make a couple of general comments about the textbook and then discuss what it did well and what seemed to be lacking.
The format of the book hasn’t changed much from the previous edition, other than tightening up the layout and so forth. The major body systems are presented sequentially, with a chapter on history taking preceding a chapter on physical examination and a chapter summarizing the relevant key clinical points. History chapters break … Read More »
ClinicalKey is a service provided by Elsevier that ties together their library of textbooks with access to journal articles, guidelines, images etc. It’s designed almost as a Google-esque search engine that only draws upon reputable material – I was quite excited by this, as I rely quite heavily on Dr. Google to pass and anything that could improve upon that was sure to be of great benefit. Integrated into the search engine are several filters for results, the ability to store searches/results for later and my personal favourite; a ‘content preview’ panel that saves me having to open half a dozen tabs in order to check search results.
For the purposes of reviewing it, I decided to showcase myself using it to answer a clinical question rather than simply discussing the website. On my first day of my geriatrics rotation I … Read More »
Elsevier ran a competition recently on their Medical Students Facebook page to win some awesome textbooks and an iPod Shuffle. To win, Medical Students had to suggest topics for Elsevier Medical Student Ambassadors to write about. One competition entry said they wanted to hear about our aspirations, reason for specialty choices and how to tailor your medical education towards your specialisation goals. So I thought I’d run you through why I’m applying for the psychiatry training program this year and what I’ve done to prepare for it.
Obviously the first part of choosing a specialty is deciding what you’re interested in. I went through my first clinical year disliking most of the specialties I rotated through; until I found psychiatry. I also really enjoyed emergency medicine during my final year, and have had trouble deciding between the two since.
The second consideration … Read More »
Since buying the 6th edition of Examination Medicine: A guide to physician training last year and loving it, I have been patiently waiting for the 7th edition to be published. That happened in November and now I have a copy in my hot little hands. I think the blurb on the back of the book; Examination Medicine: A guide to physician training, 7th Edition by Talley & O’Connor explains its purpose well; “an overview of what to expect and what is expected of you”. It is aimed at FRACP candidates preparing for examinations, but is also very applicable to medical students and junior doctors on internal medicine rotations.
Its layout is much like its surgical counterpart, Examination Surgery which I reviewed last year. Talley & O’Connor first go through the basic physician training pathway and the assessments you must complete. As … Read More »
Interview with a fellow intern and Griffith graduate who joined a disaster response team in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan
In November last year, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, killing over 6,000 people and injuring around 30,000 more. One of my fellow interns and Griffith graduate Thomas Francis joined a group of doctors in a disaster response team and provided health care in Basey and San Antonio in the Philippines. I had a chat with Tom to find out about his experience there.
Claire: Thanks so much for chatting to me today Tom. I’ll start with the obvious first question – what made you decide to go to the Philippines?
Tom: Well I’ve been doing volunteer medical work with Medical Rescue for about a year now and when I heard they were thinking about giving aid I definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help out. I’m contemplating a career in emergency medicine and anaesthetics with a view to use them in … Read More »
Neighbours with smoke machines, Vladamir Putin’s best friend, the Austrian royal family and implanted nanotechnology. These extraordinary stories are what’s on my mind after a riveting two months in psychiatry.
To be honest, I wasn’t very keen to start this term in Psychiatry. For some unknown reason I saw psychiatry as separate from ‘normal medicine’ and had regarded it as non-evidence-based, poorly understood and even medieval (regarding ‘electro-shock’ therapies). Mental health seemed all too mystical to me (although its importance is undeniable).
Psychiatry is truly a term in which you ‘get out what you put in’. At first I felt it strange for an aspect of medicine not to have any physical signs, tests or treatments but after time, you come to realise it’s all about the people and the talking. I was amazed by the variety of presentations, assortment of people from all … Read More »
The new MD Program at University Western Australia (UWA) sees first year students gain “early clinical exposure”, setting us loose in hospitals as early as two days after starting the course.
We were all allocated a two hour placement in all sorts of clinical settings, from breast cancer clinics to psychiatric wards. I personally was inflicted upon the emergency department of a major public hospital. It was a weekday morning, and the emergency consultant we were attached to told us that whilst she didn’t want to “use the q-word”, mornings generally weren’t too busy, so she was sorry if we didn’t get to see much.
As it transpired I was glad we went in the morning, because if it had been any more intense I may have lost the plot. Actually at one point I kind of did lose the plot. Anyway, … Read More »
Put simply, this book is a gold mine. Small and to the point, it will give you everything you need to pass and do well. It is primarily directed at those writing exams, which include medical students, junior doctors, and O&G Registrars. Towards the end of the rotation my colleagues were frantic to get their hands on a copy to better prepare for the upcoming exam and OSCEs. This book was actually recommended by one of our consultants at the beginning of the rotation, so I was delighted to receive a copy to review!
The chapters are short, ranging from 3-10 pages long, but most are 5 pages. Most sections list information in point form, in a sort of checklist format with the occasional paragraph thrown in. Twenty-five chapters are dedicated to gynaecology, and 30 chapters to obstetrics. At the end … Read More »
Elsevier’s complete and do-it-all text, General Practice: The Integrative Approach, provides an in-depth overview of General Practice in a whole. This is an invaluable text for medical students entering their General Practice rotations and definitely one that is worth investing in, whether or not you are interested in a future career in this rewarding field.
For one, the organisation and flow of the textbook is really quite easy to navigate. Broad headings of the General Practice: The Integrative Approach include Principles of Integrative Medicine, Principles of General Practice, Systems, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Lifecycle Health and Social Conditions. These broad topics are then divided succinctly and students are able to access chapters that are relevant. For example, I wanted to learn a bit more about diabetes and its management. So I flicked the contents page and found a whole chapter titled “Diabetes”. Throughout … Read More »
Book Review – Obstetrics and Gynaecology: An Evidence-Based Guide by Jason Abbott, Lucy Bowyer and Martha Finn
This is a fantastic, comprehensive book of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. If you’re studying O&G with limited background knowledge of the specialty, or are looking for an easy to read O&G book to get you through the rotation, then this one is for you.
I quite like the layout of this book. Instead of breaking it up into discrete gynaecology and obstetrics sections, the chapters follow the woman’s life chronologically. The book starts with early gynaecology (embryology, adolescence, STIs, fertility) then on to all of obstetrics, and ends with menopause, malignancy, and the other conditions experienced by the older woman.
There are 27 chapters which are about 10-15 pages long, and each begins with a short list of “Key Points” outlining the chapter. There are also headings which separate each section within the chapter, making it even easier to navigate the material. Each … Read More »
Book Review: Textbook of Paediatric Emergency Medicine by Peter Cameron, George Jelinek, Ian Everitt, Gary J. Browne and Jeremy Raftos
With the start of intern year approaching and the daunting thought of being on Emergency Medicine in term one setting in, I panicked and ordered a great big book on paediatric ED – The Textbook of Paediatric Emergency Medicine. As always, I was probably too prepared for my own good, as when I actually arrived on the job, I was told interns don’t usually have to see paediatric patients, and as a small hospital yet to get their own dedicated paeds ED, we don’t even get a lot of serious paediatric cases anyway. Phew! I love kids, but the physiology of a sick kid is just unpredictable and a little bit scary. So I thought I would review this book for all of the rest of you out there who are as scared of sick kiddies as I am.
The first … Read More »
Book Review: Obstetrics and Gynaecology: An Evidence-Based Guide by Jason Abbott, Lucy Bowyer and Martha Finn
‘Obstetrics and Gynaecology: An Evidence Based Guide‘ by Jason Abbott, Lucy Bowyer and Martha Finn is a concise guide dedicated to covering all the bases of the huge specialty that is OB/GYN at a medical student level.
Sections cover all major aspects of the two disciplines, from urogynaecology to obstetric emergencies, and each section provides a more than adequate overview of the topic. Information is presented in a concise format with many pictures and diagrams to illustrate important points in the text. The pictures, unlike many other texts, are up to date, represent modern imaging techniques and are of very good quality. For those of you who are stuck in the ‘what does the all this grey on this ultrasound mean’ zone, there are a lot of well-explained ultrasound pictures that might help you to navigate past this common sticking point … Read More »
Elsevier have recently published a new textbook by Felix Behan: Surgical Tips and Skills, but it could have just as easily been called “how to make gross things look not gross at all” as it is an excellent display of surgical skills. I have ruled out surgical specialties from my list of future careers, but this book really gave me a new appreciation for the wonderful work that surgeons do.
There are three sections of procedures; Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. My favourite procedure in the basic section was “ring removal from a swollen digit using multiple silk strings”. It’s like a magic trick – removing the ring without damaging it at all. I had an elderly patient in ED recently whose wedding ring we were forced to cut off as the finger was so swollen due to an acute exacerbation of … Read More »
Student Consult is a resource that I have been using since starting Medicine, and is one that I am sure you are all aware of. It functions as a place to store and access all of your purchased textbooks, simply by scratching at the barcode on the inside cover and entering the code.
Student Consult has now teamed up with Inkling, a cloud based publishing platform, to allow for seamless access to your personal library on iPad, iPhone, PC or Mac. Simply download the Inkling app onto your device, sign in with your Student Consult username and all of your previously registered e-books should be available in your library. These can be used on the go by downloading them directly to your device. The entire e-book can be made available offline, or can be downloaded chapter-by-chapter if space is an issue.
In-app … Read More »
Name: Christine Mendes
University: University of Queensland
Year of Study in 2014: Year 4
Type of Course: Graduate Entry
Previous Course: Bachelor of Science Psychology/Microbiology
Reason for not pursuing U/G course if Graduate Entry Student: I’m an international student from Canada, so Graduate entry was my only option
Tell us why did you choose medicine?:
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I remember my mom getting me this little doctor set when I was about 5. I then proceeded to harass all of my family members so I could have patients to do a physical exam on! The tables have turned though, and now they harass me to examine their little ailments ha ha. I’ve seen a few close family members become very sick, and watching them recover and heal under the care of a well-trained, practiced physician made me feel like I needed to give … Read More »
Name: Lachlan Rodd
University: Monash University Graduate Cohort
Year of Study in 2014: 3B
Type of Course: Graduate Entry
Previous Course: Physiotherapy
Reason for not pursuing U/G course if Graduate Entry Student: Needed a new challenge
Tell us why did you choose medicine?:
I have always been fascinated by anatomy and the human body in general, initially though injury management in physiotherapy, but I started to feel that there was more to health than musculoskeletal management and I felt that I needed a challenge. Medicine was an obvious step sideways and Monash appealed as a rural, and clinical skills focused course.
Describe your path to medicine?:
I had been interested in medicine and health throughout high school, but after discussing career options and the path of medicine with a few anaesthetists, who appeared disheartened they warned me off a career in medicine. After numerous sporting injuries and exposure to … Read More »
Name: Victoria Berquist
University: Monash University
Year of Study in 2014: 4
Type of Course: Undergraduate entry
Tell us why did you choose medicine?:
Choosing medicine for me wasn’t quite as straightforward as it was for other students, and for me it was quite a late choice. I knew I wanted to work in a challenging field that required thought, problem-solving, decision making and most importantly had an interesting knowledge base. While medicine isn’t the only career that fits that bill, after considering various careers I was drawn to its flexibility. For me, choosing to study medicine does not necessarily mean you will be a doctor working in a hospital or clinic close to home unless you choose to, and I look forward to exploring where medicine can take me.
Describe your path to medicine?:
After attending school in Melbourne and moving to Brisbane to … Read More »
Name: Michael Wu
University: University of Tasmania
Year of Study in 2014: Fourth Year (Penultimate Year)
Type of Course: Undergraduate Entry
Tell us why did you choose medicine?:
To be perfectly honest, I was never one of those people who could confidently say they had chosen their occupation from a young age. I went through phase after phase, varying from writing to being a private investigator. I guess what really pointed me towards Medicine was the health of my grandparents. Seeing the deteriorating health of my grandparents as they aged really upset me but it was extremely encouraging to see them being treated by a good doctor.
Describe your path to medicine?:
During Year 12, I was torn about future careers and the clique term of where I saw myself in the future. I completed the UMAT in Year 12 but only obtained a score of 80 … Read More »
Name: Miranda Wallace
University: The University of Sydney
Year of Study in 2014: Second Year (Stage 2)
Type of Course: Graduate Entry (4 Years)
Previous Course if you are a Graduate Entry Student: Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Reason for not pursuing U/G course if Graduate Entry Student: I wanted to go to USyd!
Tell us why did you choose medicine?:
Because I am a freak! I actually always wanted to be a doctor, from the age of four. I spent a lot of time around hospitals with my grandma when I was little. I got to hold the dish while the doctor pulled the staples out of her skull and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. She is still alive today despite, two brain tumours, and almost every affliction known to man. If it wasn’t for modern medicine I wouldn’t have her here today. She … Read More »
Name: Claire Ferguson
University: University of Western Australia
Year of Study in 2014: First
Type of Course: Graduate Entry
Previous Course: Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science. (Nobody knows what this is. I studied it, and I’m not even sure I know what it is. Kind of like a shorter Arts/Science degree.)
Reason for not pursuing U/G course if Graduate Entry Student: There were too many things I wanted to study, so I picked something where I’d be able to try lots of things, in the hopes I’d eventually be able to narrow it down.
Tell us why did you choose medicine?
For the same reasons a lot of people choose it I think; it’s easy to be drawn to a career where your intellect is going to be fiercely and consistently engaged, you’re in for a lifetime of meaningful work and you’re equipping yourself with skills … Read More »
Name: Maverick Lee
University: University of Adelaide
Year of Study in 2014: Three of Six Years
Type of Course: Undergraduate Entry Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Why did you choose medicine?:
By the end of high school, I absolutely hated physics and maths. It was liberating to realise that engineering was not the path for me, so instead I decided to pursue the mysteries of the human body and the practicality of applying and fixing such a complex machine. That being said, medicine is also great for social interaction and never a dull moment in the years to come!
Describe your path to medicine?:
Bit mundane unfortunately. Straight from high school in NZ to University of Adelaide. It was an interesting experience moving countries and starting a completely new life.
First impressions of your medical campus?:
A bit old, a bit confusing, but full of friendly, … Read More »
During our Christmas competitions, we asked what you guys would like us to write about. Shane Cameron won a prize pack for requesting an article on, “The most profound, self-actualising or interesting experience in medicine thus far, and how this has changed your view of medicine and the way in which you practice”. Well, I don’t know if I can pin it down to just one. So I thought I’d tell you about some of the moments in the last few years that have really had an impact on me.
I love kids. I think tiny humans are amazing creatures that say the most hilarious things and have brains like sponges. But until I was involved in the care of this little patient, I didn’t think I would ever want children of my own. On an ED shift in early 4th … Read More »
A Guide to Evidence-based Integrative and Complementary Medicine – Kotsirilos, Vitetta & Sali – Review by Dr Claire McAllister
So whilst A Guide to Evidence-based Integrative and Complementary Medicine doesn’t strike you as the most interesting of books at first glance, trust me when I say, this book is worth adding to your collection. Don’t judge a book by its cover… or really, the title. The cover is actually quite nice.
The text starts by explaining what integrative medicine (IM) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are and how they’re different. It also reiterates the NHMRC levels of evidence and reminds medical practitioners to always be critical of the evidence they’re presented. Pretty good way to kick off, I’d say.
There’s a nutrition chapter with some great tables in it, including one that links particular nutrient deficiencies with their signs and symptoms, and another that lists conditions that may be improved with specific vitamin supplementations. The authors have included the Harvard … Read More »
Whilst visiting the Elsevier stand at the ACEM Annual Scientific Meeting this year I spied some interesting looking textbooks. First on my list to get was a copy of was Murray, Daly, Little & Cadogan’s Toxicology Handbook 2e. For me, toxicology is one of the most interesting subjects in Emergency Medicine.
I really enjoyed having a flick through this textbook as it is has a clear layout and is thorough without being too complicated.
Chapter 1: Approach to the Poisoned Patient.
The importance of effective resuscitation is one of the first things taught, which makes sense, because if you don’t resus the patient, there’s no point doing anything else with them! The resus outlined is specific for poisoning, in part focusing on seizures, hypoglycaemia and antidote administration. Something I learnt from this book was the “Risk Assessment” – no, it has nothing to … Read More »
I recently attended the ACEM 2013 ASM in beautiful Adelaide. Having still not completely decided on a specialty to pursue, I wanted to see what Emergency Medicine offered in the way of conferences; and I was not disappointed.
The welcome reception on the Sunday was above and beyond anything I expected. Oysters, quail, pork belly, wonderful South Australian wines, a chocolate fountain, a live band and two snakes. Wait what? Snakes? Yup, there were snakes. I met some really interesting people there, including an American emergency physician who has recently become the first ED doctor in Norway, where there is currently no ED system. I had an interesting chat with her about the challenges of her job and how to begin changing a system in which the doctors have become totally entrenched. I also bonded with her young daughter over our … Read More »
Author Interview – ‘Examination Surgery’ author Clinical Associate Professor Christopher Young is interviewed by Ranesh Palan
Earlier this month I was able to do a phone interview with Clinical Associate Professor Christopher Young (USyd), one of the authors of the new Elsevier title ‘Examination Surgery: A Guide to Passing the Fellowship Examination in General Surgery’.
A/Professor Young is a General Surgeon sub-specialising in colorectal surgery and has a remarkable list of career accomplishments including being the Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Board In General Surgery from 2011-2013. Currently he is the head of the Colorectal Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.
A/Professor Young was generous enough to talk to me for almost an hour, and discussion segued from his excellent book, to the state of General Surgery in Australia today and what this means for junior doctors and medical students looking at the discipline as a career.
Ranesh Palan (RP) – What prompted you … Read More »
Interview with Intensive Care Nurse who attended ANZICS/ACCCN Intensive Care Annual Scientific Meeting 2013
The ANZICS/ACCCN Intensive Care Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was held in chilly Hobart in mid October. A good friend of mine attended the conference to further her career in intensive care nursing and I had a chat to her about her experience there.
Claire: Hi Rozzi, thanks for having a chat with me today. Can you tell me a bit about your career so far and why you decided to go to ANZICS?
Rozzi: Hi Claire, thanks for allowing me to talk about one of my favourite subjects; intensive care. I am a registered nurse currently working in a general/cardiothoracic ICU on the Gold Coast. Being an intensive care nurse is really one of the most rewarding experiences you could ever have. After finishing my graduate year I transferred to ICU and I have never looked back. I enjoy my job so much … Read More »
Book Review – Obstetrics & Gynaecology: An Evidence-Based Guide by Jason Abbott, Lucy Bowyer and Martha Finn
I’ve been running around telling all my friends who are considering future careers in Obs & Gynae about this book. I’ve also been running around trying to find Hermione’s time turner, so I can go back and do third year with this book and ace O&G. Just kidding, third year was awful. I never want to do that again. Anyway, I’ll run you through some parts of the book I found particularly useful.
Chapter 1: The Newborn.
This chapter would be really great study material for paediatrics too. It goes through neonatal resuscitation (including the ARC algorithm), APGAR scores, neonatal examination (the all-important baby check), an up-to-date vaccination schedule and the complications of prematurity. These are all crucial aspects of day to day clinical placements in both paediatrics and O&G, and also come up frequently in exams
Chapter 4: Sexual Activity & Contraception
All … Read More »
Book Review – ‘Examination Surgery: A guide to passing the Fellowship Examination in General Surgery’ by Christopher J Young and Marc A Gladman
I am stoked to have had the pleasure of reading ‘Examination Surgery’, and would have to say it’s the most useful textbook I’ve ever seen. I’m going to outline the structure of the book, as well as giving you glimpses of its content, because I think the clear outline is what makes ‘Examination Surgery‘ just so effective. If you tried to tackle the Fellowship Exam without this text, I feel like the whole process would be totally overwhelming.
Section 1: Examination Information & Preparation
This goes through the Australian fellowship requirements, the components of the fellowship exam and how to prepare. This is a great basis off which to do some groundwork, and make sure you’re adequately informed of what lies ahead. There’s also a suggested reading list so that you can direct your study where it will be most effective.
Section 2: The … Read More »
Eye Essentials for Every Doctor – The Windows to the Soul
I will be the first person to admit that ophthalmology has never been my forte. What could possibly be so exciting about an intricately complicated sensory organ that has one of the greatest known number of pathologies of any specialty? As far as I was concerned, poorly controlled diabetic and hypertensive retinopathies, glaucoma and macular degeneration were the bulk of ophthalmology practice, making the entire field about as exciting as an arrowroot biscuit.
That was until I experienced the wonderful department of eye casualty.
In the space of a mere few hours, we saw plenty of blepharitis, a globe rupture, temporal arteritis, a retinal vein haemorrhage, conjunctivitis, periorbital dermatitis and multiple foreign bodies. This was on top of any combination of eye versus palm frond, plastic piping, spiky headband, punch thrown by … Read More »
Katherine Gridley Interviews Professor Gordian Fulde author of ‘Emergency Medicine: The Principles of Practice 6E’
I am a ‘motor-mouth’ at the best of times, so I generally notice when something leaves me speechless. My interview with Prof Fulde was one of those times.
Prof Gordian Fulde is the long-serving director of the St Vincent’s Hospital emergency department in Sydney. He has quite a long list of acronyms following his name, and moonlights as an occasional TV celebrity on the ratings success Kings Cross ER on the Crime Network. But for someone so highly acclaimed and respected in the world of emergency medicine, he is remarkably down to earth and a genuinely delightful person. Within minutes of speaking to him, you can sense that he has a real passion, not only for emergency medicine, but for empowering and encouraging young doctors.
His latest creation, the sixth edition of ‘Emergency Medicine – The Principles of Practice 6th edition’.
If there … Read More »
How do I prepare for exams?
This is a question which every student asks – particularly those starting medical school (or in their first few years) and a topic which is sure to provoke anxiety, especially around the end of year exams! Having just passed my third year exams and now in my final year of medical school, I feel well qualified to share some points which have helped me survive so far!
Be well rested!
Burning the midnight oil and getting less sleep in order to study might seem like a good idea, but it is really a false economy. Your productivity decreases with a lack of sleep, and your memory and recall becomes impaired1, 2 – leading to poor performance. Getting enough sleep is particularly important in the days leading up to an exam; as a lack of concentration and attention … Read More »
I like my neuro books best when they resemble the books of my childhood. That is, brightly coloured, lots of pictures and not too many words. I think this is mostly because reading neuro is about as akin to me as reading Cantonese, upside down. It hurts my head.
Now hopefully I haven’t convinced you that I’m completely inept at all things neuro. But if I did, I couldn’t say that was too far from the truth. Before this Crash Course book came into my life that is.
This series of books is fantastic when you are in your pre-clinical years. They provide a reasonable depth of knowledge in a manageable and easy to understand way. The Nervous System is really no different (read: they dumb it down so those neuro-challenged such as myself get it).
Let’s face it, these books are on … Read More »
Book Review – Emergency Medicine: The Principles of Practice 6th Edition by Gordian Fulde and Sascha Fulde
This fantastic book opens with a quick reference guide that is essentially your ‘get out of jail free’ card for when a general medical or emergency consultant is grilling you. It has everything from your ALS algorithms, how to read an ECG, management of an acute coronary syndrome and how to put in a chest drain; to spirometry guides, fluid prescribing, electrolyte disorders; and even common nerve palsies and how to describe a fracture.
The next 5 chapters are a great overview on emergency in general, including advanced life support, how to manage an airway, essentials of resuscitation and the use of conventional imaging and ultrasound. Chapter 3 is particularly brilliant, as a step-by-step guide on important procedural skills, including IV access, arterial lines, chest … Read More »
Luke Anderson’s interview with Professor Nick Talley
To celebrate the release of the newest edition of Clinical Examination 7e, I sat down with co-author Professor Nicholas Talley to discuss the new edition, refugee health, martial arts and why gastroenterology was the last thing he ever wanted to do.
Luke: ‘Clinical Examination‘ has found a home on the bookshelves of medical students around the world for almost 25 years now, and no doubt readers will be very familiar with the text. What can we expect from the 7th edition?
Nicholas Talley: What we have done again this time is we have listened to comments from expert reviewers, medical students and others who have given us great input. We always seek peer review to determine what to modify.
We also commissioned for the first time original research, basically systematic review research, to the value of clinical … Read More »
I recently had the privilege to attend the RANZCP Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s annual conference in Melbourne and wanted to rave about it to you all. I’ll run you through some of the sessions I attended and the most important pieces of info I gleaned from them.
The first day I attended a pre-conference workshop entitled Early Intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder: Implementation in Child, Adolescent and Youth Mental Health Services. Historically psychiatrists have been taught not to diagnose personality disorders before the age of 18. During this workshop the presenters showed studies which demonstrate that personality features fluctuate gradually over our lives and are no more stable in our 20s and 30s than in our teenage years. The new DSM-V and the upcoming ICD-11 both have no age related caveats on diagnosis, so diagnosis is being encouraged at … Read More »
I recently had the pleasure of completing a rotation in refugee health and infectious disease at a large tertiary paediatric hospital. It was by far one of the best experiences of my medical career and one that I will hold on to for a very long time. It was also a very time pertinent experience with all the publicity surrounding refugees and Australia’s management of them. Before I talk about my experiences I thought it would be useful to share a few facts that I learned about refugee health:
•Children account for approximately half of the humanitarian refugees currently resettled in Australia.
•The Australian Government and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians support voluntary comprehensive health assessment following resettlement to identify acute and chronic health issues that are particularly prevalent in refugees.
•Nearly two-thirds of children who come into Australia as refugees were … Read More »
By Mordecai P. Blaustein, MD, Joseph P. Y. Kao, PhD and Donald R. Matteson, PhD
Book Review by Kerry Jewell, (Med V, Monash University)
Back in the good old days of pre-clinical medical school, that wholesome era of naivety when students could be students, and uni night didn’t interfere with early morning ward rounds, there seemed to be two sorts of questions on end of semester exams. The multiple-choice questions that could logically be whittled down from the available options to one or two likely answers based on knowledge accumulated in semester and perhaps with the help of some creative night-before-exam mnemonic tricks. And then there were the physiology questions.
Now I’m sorry physiology, I hope you don’t take this personally, but man you’re complicated. All these pretentious ions getting busy all over the place but only chilling with channels you think are … Read More »
Playing the role of scribe on ward rounds is a quick and simple way for any student to make a useful contribution to the team they are attached to. Alleviating the intern of this duty allows them to focus on compiling their job list for the day, and relieves the medical student of that feeling of ‘being in the way’.
Taking the notes, especially for the first time, can be a bit daunting – particularly knowing what is relevant, and the correct format to use. This is a guide that an extremely helpful resident gave me during my first ever rotation. Hopefully it gives an insight into what is expected, and makes you more prepared than I was when I first set foot on a ward. That being said, if you haven’t taken notes before, your best bet is to ask … Read More »
There is a situation common to many medical students entering their final years of university. The sinking feeling that pre-clinical evidence-based medicine tutorials may have actually been (1) worth attending, and (2) worth paying attention to…
With the rise of formal and informal student research projects as a means of distinguishing oneself during the intern application process, never has an appreciation for statistics been so important. And wouldn’t it be handy if you had a nice, handbag-sized reference text to keep close by so never again will you again bungle the difference between sensitivity and specificity.
Enter all two-hundred-and-nineteen pages of Elsevier’s first edition ‘Vital Statistics: An Introduction to Health Science Statistics’ (ISBN 9780729541497), a concise guide to planning the statistical component of your research project, and then working your way through the steps needed to accurately compile and analyse your data.
‘Vital … Read More »
The land of general practice is a place that a lot of students might feel somewhat ambivalent about entering; why trade a hospital that is teeming with interesting, non-typical cases for a clinic with a succession of patients with generically minor ailments? It’s a good question and one that you won’t find the answer to until you’ve actually made the transition. Medical students in hospitals tend to flit between teams and hover around patients, trying to negotiate their way into doing procedures and examinations. In the GP clinic, it’s just you and the doctor, who knows you’re there to learn from him/her and will typically do their best to sell you on general practice as a specialty. Fortunately for you, this involves giving you exposure to patient examination, treatment and diagnosis.
What I’d like to focus on here is how to … Read More »
Whilst everyone else is off climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, rescuing injured patients on the ski slopes of NZ and exploring the Americas, I am rustling my final pennies together for food and rent and staying on the Gold Coast. But really, when you’re keen on a career in child and adolescent psychiatry, there are not many places that beat the Gold Coast!
When you have your sights set on a specialty, it’s always anxiety provoking when the time comes to actually experience it. Will I ACTUALLY like it clinically? There is something both reassuring and inspiring to step in to a placement and get the feeling that yes, I love this, I could do this forever. This is exactly what my month in CYMHS has been all about.
Of course I can’t tell in depth patient stories over an internet blog, but I … Read More »
Beware that planning an overseas elective can require a lot of organization and preparation. Make sure an overseas medical elective is actually what you want before you start putting a significant portion of your, often non-existent, time and money into the project. I was lucky enough to stumble upon my placement; it is not this easy or streamlined for everyone. There are quite a few more logistical steps along the way such as insurance and medico-legal defense look into these in line with your universities specifications.
Step 1 – Read the Unit Handbook
I cannot stress this enough. MAKE SURE YOU ARE CLEAR ON YOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS ELECTIVE. Does it have to be a hospital? Which forms are you required to fill out? What is the approval process? When can you get an approval letter from your institution? Do you … Read More »
I was fortunate enough to be appointed as Leadership Development Officer for the UQ Medical Society in 2012. Apart from acquiring a fancy title and a nicer looking email address, my role was to organise the leadership development workshop – a full day leadership skills enhancing activity, mainly involving inspiring and challenging speakers.
As it is no secret that I am an emergency medicine nerd, I organised for some of the best ED physicians in the business (as well as a particularly entertaining hospital medical director) to share their tales of triumph and catastrophe in a scenario based activity.
Students had to work their way through “oops, I gave my patient a pneumothorax!” to settling team handover disputes to managing roadside CPR on a heavily pregnant woman. We received excellent feedback from the students involved, and I attribute this completely to the … Read More »
An expose on Internship from those gone before us.
When a couple of junior doctors and registrars open with stories of their ineptitude and incompetency in their first days as Intern’s, its always comforting…not. It’s just a subtle reminder that whilst you might (or might not) be on top of things as a student, next year is a whole new ball game.
And it never helps when most of the remaining discussion covers avoiding mistakes, how to deal with stuffing things up and how hard it’s going to be to get into, well, ANY specialty in the future.
All of this “intern” stuff is starting to fill me full of doom and gloom. So it’s lucky that the panel decided to include a few entertaining tales and reasons why being an intern is great… I’ll get to those.
AMSA Convention in collaboration with the … Read More »
I was asked to write an article about my recently completed rotation in obstetrics at a secondary hospital in the Nothwestern Kimberley region of WA. As I sat down to write it, I realized that obstetrics isn’t all that different no matter where you do it in Australia. Obstetrics can be the most joy filled practice, culminating in the birth of generally cute, healthy babies, or it can be disastrous, adrenalin pumping and sometimes have much poorer outcomes. It is unpredictable and nothing is really for sure. None of this really changes in a rural setting, except if things aren’t looking good, you have to make a call much earlier than later, and sometimes it really can be up to you.
I remember the first birth I attended, I wrote of it in another article. I was a first year medical … Read More »
If I really had a time machine with unlimited time travelling capabilities I would not mess around with correcting petty present day issues. Oh no. I would instead hurtle forwards to a happier time of domesticated meerkats and commercial super-sonic flight to Mars (which, in this imagined future, will be the solar system’s premier amusement park slash spa resort).
However, none of that is medically relevant. Which is a shame because I think an involved discussion on the pros and cons of domesticating meerkats is probably something we should be examining more closely.
Instead, here is some advice, from a final year student to her earlier counterpart, at the crossroads in time where she was approaching her first year of clinical placement. But in the interest of not crossing my own timelines and something about fixed points, how about I just pass … Read More »
Ask any medical student: anatomy is hard but neuroanatomy is somehow harder. The brain is unbelievably fascinating and it is a shame that the difficulty of this subject often prevents students appreciating its organisation, function and secrets.
Recently I found myself sitting relearning neuroanatomy and, throughout this time, I wondered why it hadn’t been as clear the first time I came across this material. Why is neuroanatomy hard? Well here are some reasons I have come up with:
Visualisation (or lack of)
Anatomy is (or should be) learnt by visualising the structures and subsequently imagining/deducing their functions. Neuroanatomy throws all this out the window. Often different structures and tracts can’t be separated on the basis of appearance to the naked eye. And don’t even bother trying to deduce the function of certain blobs of grey matter.
While other parts of human anatomy have patterns … Read More »
Writing about the best way to study efficiently seemed like a challenge for me, given my history of procrastination. Nevertheless, I had a chance to reflect on two things that I felt were important to the idea of studying smart; ways I’d adapted to the unique requirements of medicine and general study advice.
The obstacle that is the breadth of information to be learned in medicine is particularly challenging to overcome. When I was doing my preclinical studies, the main difficulty I had was working out just how much of each lecture I was expected to know and reproduce in my exams. One thing I used to keep myself on track was the 80/20 rule, which can be applied to just about everything in life. In this case, I felt that the most difficult 20% of the material to learn (ie … Read More »
‘Pocket Clinical Examination for iPhone’ is touted as “an invaluable revision tool for medical students performing examinations in a clinical setting”, and, depending on your learning style, that is exactly what it is.
The app presents a highly portable, easily accessed and fluidly navigated interface that is ideal for those of us that spend a lot of time away from the desk without the desire to carry a textbook. It also represents a great resource for the wards when seeing a patient can trigger the desire to refresh knowledge without waiting to get home to the text.
‘Pocket Clinical Examination’ is divided into four primary content areas:
1. Clinical examination skills. This section forms the bulk of the app content, and consists of the text from the hard copy of the book, covering the cardinal signs or patient presentations and clinical examination of … Read More »
After the first chapter title, “A fool-resistant introduction to statistics (Hardly anything is foolproof)” I knew I was in for a decent read with Vital Statistics by Stephen McKenzie. I’m not really a maths person. Whilst I’d like to think I was good at it at school, I’ll readily admit to myself that I have completely deskilled in this area in the seven years since. I need all the help I can get in understanding statistics.
Vital Statistics is pretty much everything I learnt in my undergraduate statistics subject – but in one little green book, instead of 16 weeks of hell and a large exam at the end. Sample selection bias, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and so much more! It was great to go over the t-test and chi-squared as honestly I had entirely forgotten what these two things were. … Read More »
The hassle and bustle of ED makes it one of my favourite places in the hospital. Between the steady beep of the machines, constant stream of patients and spontaneous shouts of ‘Stat! Help! They’re coding!’ it is everything that American TV shows promised medicine would be. A high patient turnover means you will never be bored but it also means you need to know a bit of everything as there is no way of predicting what will come through the doors. Fear of not knowing enough can easily be a deterrent to medical students spending more time in this wonderful learning environment.
In ‘learning’ medicine I have found that information in lectures and tutorials seems to seep out as soon as the lesson is over. What sticks for me is random facts picked up around the wards, in association to a … Read More »
Everybody learns differently, and this becomes particularly evident in medicine where, by and large, people spend a lot of time learning. It’s probably not an outlandish statement to say the overwhelmingly preferred method involves an element of hands on practical experience. It’s fun, exciting and makes everything that’s been read seem real and worthwhile.
Unfortunately not everything can be reasonably seen and experienced practically, and it’s obviously important to know much more than one can garner exposure to. That is where the individual styles become important. Each to their own, because there is no point giving a white board to somebody who likes to read things over and over. Nor will a busy, noisy room help the student who paces back and forth talking to them self.
Of course the old favorite of passing out face-down on a book when even i.v. … Read More »
ECG Workbook has been sitting in my cupboard since the beginning of the year and I swore to myself I would complete all the ECG exercises in the book before exams, and with 4 weeks left to honour that promise, I sat down and got to work. And I was pleased I did.
ECG workbook is probably the single best resource on ECGs that I have ever encountered. It’s a pretty simple concept – How to read ECGs at the start of the book, followed by 45 practice ECGs for you to systematically work though.
It just so happens that Dr Rohan Jayasinghe, the author of ECG workbook, is the Director of Cardiology at Gold Coast Hospital. I met up with him and had a chat about the book and his career in cardiology. Hope you enjoy!
C: Thanks for writing such a … Read More »
This app provides a great little handy reference, good for on the ward and doesn’t weigh you down like a printed reference. The search function also makes it handy to quickly find specific sub-topics without opening up each chapter.
I loved the library of videos, especially some of the procedural “how-to” videos (and I quite liked that some of these were not textbook perfect, difficult for even old hands and reflected the difficulty of some of these procedures).
The library also includes a large bank of images, from US and X-ray to data tables and graphs on survival statistics. Also quite useful were the various calculators such as drug dosages and tube size, which were very useful in practice in the nursery.
On the downside, the volume in some of the videos needs to be enhanced. Being a pocket reference, there’s also not … Read More »
Having just come off my Obstetrics and Gynaecology rotation in a rural hospital I can confidently say that this was a fantastic app to have. For anyone new to neonatology, for anyone who may end up needing to be familiar with neonatology this app is a great place to start.
The integrated videos were a wonderful way to familiarize myself with the equipment available. The images were high quality and really allowed me a fantastic opportunity to practice my clinical skills. There are imbedded videos of procedures that prepare you well to know what is going on and give an overview of how a procedure can look.
The step by step instructions are available for procedures from umbilical line access to work up and follow through for maternal infection. There is a significant amount of up to date information regarding conditions seen … Read More »
Book Review – Marshall & Ruedy’s On Call: Principles & Protocols, 2nd Edition by Mike Cadogan, Anthony F T Brown and Tony Celenza
The first edition of ‘On Call: Principles & Protocols’ has been an integral part of the Australian intern’s handbag (or man-bag) since shortly after its release here in 2007. Word spread quickly of a book combining step-by-step case notes for a series of emergency situations with a handy depository of facts and figures often required by young doctors.
This second edition is a localisation of Canadian authors Shane Marhsall and John Ruedy, a cardiac care physician and pharmacology professor respectively. The three authors responsible for translation to the Australian system are Mike Cadogan, Antonio Celenza and Anthony F.T. Brown – the trio all belonging to the field of Emergency Medicine in some form or another.
This is surely indicative of the importance placed upon this textbook by people in their department. The Australian version differs from its North American counterpart in a … Read More »
‘Robbins Basic Pathology’ has long been considered the gold standard of pathology teaching at an undergraduate level. Used by many universities nationwide and globally, this American text has reached its ninth version. Many students are divided when they come to purchasing the textbook that will guide them through the pathology section of their course – ‘Underwood’s Pathology’ being the alternative many flock to. When I completed my own pathology modules, we were told by senior students that, “If you just want to pass pathology you can get by with Underwood. If you really want to understand the subject though, get Robbins.” I would argue not to take the quick and easy path, because in the long run the more extensive knowledge gained from Robbins will make you a better-trained Jedi… uh, doctor.
‘Robbins’ begins with a brief overview of cytology – … Read More »
Vital Statistics: A Vital Text?
Statistics. Wait! Don’t stop reading!! Your persistence will pay you well. …I promise.
So I have just learnt that bribery and “incentivisation” doesn’t work as well in the written word as it does in other mediums. But hopefully I managed to keep some of you intrigued.
Statistics isn’t exactly a topic that most medical students think of with fondness. In fact, I’m pretty sure most medical students attempt to not think on it at all. Something that I have learnt during my clinical years is that – Statistics IS actually everywhere. And (much to my dismay) is used in day to day practice to inform management and patient care.
So now I have a problem. Instead of being able to shove the issue of learning statistics under the rug (which I had full intentions of at least attempting), I … Read More »
With my General Practice rotation freshly completed, I thought I would write about a few things I’ve learnt over the past eight weeks. My first month was spent in an urban practice in a Southern suburb of Sydney, while I went to Maclean (a small town of 2,600 between Grafton and Lismore) for my rural rotation in the second half of my rotation.
One of the best things about General Practice is the sheer variety of patients you get to see every day! In one day you would get to see an eight week old bub (kids were my favourite part of general practice), a twenty eight year old and an eighty year old!
The cases ranged from chronic conditions and vaccinations to the more acute. In Maclean the GPs also run the local district hospital (with only one locum emergency doctor … Read More »
I recently attended the Australasian Schizophrenia Conference where I had the pleasure of hearing Prof David Castle speak on “What can we do when clozapine fails”. Seeing as I recently gave his book “A Primer in Clinical Psychiatry 2e” a rave review, I thought I would catch up with him for a quick chat.
C: Thanks for chatting with me today. First, I’d like to ask you a pretty obvious question: What made you get into psychiatry?
D: Well it seemed like the most interesting specialty out there. Neurology had become more and more technologically focused and I wanted something a bit more personal. I have a strong interest in the humanities and psychiatry was the perfect blend of science and art. There is always the person behind the illness and we can’t forget that. Also, it’s a field in which there … Read More »
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Australasian Schizophrenia Conference (ASC). I chose this conference as I believed it would give me an insight into the current research in schizophrenia, particularly in my area of interest; molecular biology.
I first attended a satellite session on Mothers’ Day, quite fittingly on Women’s Mental Health. It was a great insight into the hormonal aspects of mental health, including studies on the OCP, menopause and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
The conference officially began bright an early on the Monday morning with a welcome speech from a hilarious comedian that does impersonations of Australian politicians. But after all the laughter, it was time to get into business. I went to a number of different sessions over the two days but I’ll give you a run down of some of my favourites.
Pat McGorry – “Clinical staging … Read More »
The obstetrics and gynaecology rotation can be a huge step into the unknown for the medical student. The pathologies encountered in the medical and surgical disciplines are replaced with the physiologic events of pregnancy, which, despite being a normal life event, still confers the period of greatest risk for morbidity and mortality in the lifetime of both mother and child. The gynaecological aspects of the rotation are not without their challenges, requiring an increased amount of sophistication and sensitivity in managing the various disease processes of the female reproductive system.
Pair these unique challenges with the need to establish a sound knowledge base in both fields and you have quite the task on your hands.
In researching for the topic I found the traditional web-based resources to be a bit too much to digest, and the various entry-level textbooks varying in the … Read More »
Conferences – a chance to present research findings, learn more about a field of interest, network, socialise and see a new part of Australia/the world. There are plenty of meetings out there catering to just about every interest in medicine from the broad to the sub-specialties. However, with the costs of registration, travel, accommodation and social events, how are we meant to afford it all?
Having developed an interest in O&G following my previous rotation, I applied for funding to attend the RANZCOG Provincial Fellows Annual Scientific Meeting, held this year in Mildura. After having the application approved I set off for the quiet town on the banks of the Murray that, after passing through on the way back from a placement at Broken Hill, I had vowed to return to in the near future.
The ASM spanned four days, focusing on … Read More »
Orthopaedic surgery… I didn’t have high hopes for it. Handover at 7am? Who is even awake then?!! I imagined ortho as a boys club of gunners, all trying to fight for a miniscule amount of training positions. The pressure was on!
I’ll just go right ahead and say it – ortho was brilliant. It was one of the best rotations I’ve done in the last 18 months. I was right in saying it’s a bit of a boys club (3 girls out of over 20 guys) and that everyone is a gunner. Every morning in handover, the regs would show off x-rays of their recent metalwork with pride, mostly to be brought down to reality by the consultants on each tiny thing they had done wrong. Whilst the competitiveness was a bit confronting, I think it really hyped me up for … Read More »
Over the Christmas break I travelled to Hanoi, in the North of Vietnam to Viet Duc University Hospital to do a month long trauma placement. Prior to travelling to Vietnam I had done some research into the incidence of trauma and was astounded to find that there were close to half a million injuries (and 15,000 fatalities) associated with road trauma every year. Being placed at Viet Duc Hospital allowed me to be immersed in the trauma experience as it is a purely surgical hospital which is the major trauma hospital for Hanoi and receives patients from as far away as 200 kilometres.
I spent two weeks with the Orthopaedic Trauma team, with some evenings & nights in the Emergency Department which allowed me to be exposed to the full range of trauma patients that presented to casualty at Viet Duc. … Read More »
In response to a recent Facebook poll of Elsevier readers, some students pointed out that they wanted to hear about experiences in hospitals that were particularly memorable. Here are three things that have happened to me that I particularly remember, each one having taught me something different.
Murmurs are hard, OK
I was attending a clinic and sitting in with a senior registrar, observing his management of patients and occasionally asking seemingly intelligent questions to convince him of my competence. It must have been working; when a man came in for a medical review and checkup, he asked me to examine the patient whilst he ran an errand and present my findings when he returned. I did so and the crux of the examination was that there was a loud murmur evident when I listened to his chest. This was the first … Read More »
We recently had a comment on the Elsevier Facebook page requesting an ambassador to write about their favourite practical experiences in the GP term. So here I am, to the rescue, to impart all knowledge I have gained on my most recent block in GP-land!
My first tip is to make sure you find a good practice. Not sure what it’s like at other unis, but at Griffith we can do “student initiated” placements – basically you go out and find the GP, instead of the school getting one for you. This ensures you get what you want in a practice – if you want women’s health or travel health or whatever your heart desires, you can get it. I had been recommended this practice by a few friends who had been there in the past and loved it. In the … Read More »
Being interested in a career in plastic surgery naturally I was drawn to this text, which purports itself to be a concise tool for both exams and clinical reference. I’ll also soon be starting a plastics rotation as part of my internship, so a certain degree of pre-reading is probably worthwhile.
When describing Plastic Surgery Secrets Plus, now in its second edition, ‘Concise’ is perhaps a loose term considering the size of the text. However plastic and reconstructive surgery is a specialty that covers patients from cradle to grave and from head to toe, so it’s understandable that any reference tool is going to be reasonably hefty.
The text, as described, is designed primarily for exam revision, and its layout mirrors that. Each chapter is divided into individual clinical questions (eg “what types of fixation are available for treatment of maxillofacial fractures?”), … Read More »
I may be in my twenties and in my final year of medical school, but I have the excitement of a 5 year old when travelling with lights and sirens ablaze in an ambulance. Even after a month, I still have the most ridiculous grin on my face when speeding through traffic, white knuckled and praying that I can hold down my lunch. And when the excitement of the car ride ends, there’s the patient…..
I have spent the last month on elective with QLD Ambulance, attached to the intensive care paramedic (ICP) team and the trauma car operating out of the medical director’s office in Kedron. In the QAS, the ICPs are the most highly trained paramedics. The trauma car contains a qualified emergency consultant who is able to FAST scan (trauma ultrasound), provide rapid sequence induction and execute a … Read More »
I had the pleasure of completing my first clinical rotation of medical school in a medical subspecialty (GIT/Hepatology) over the last 8 weeks, and underwent what amounted to a crash-course in how to manage my time on the wards. Having got through it all with no more than a few unexpected blood spatters on my shirt (errant cannula), I am really keen to share some of my tips (read: unsolicited advice/opinions) with you all!
Attendance: To Stay or Go?
Coming into general medicine with only theoretical knowledge (and a good sense of humour), I quickly realised the best way to get a feel for what was happening was to show up early, and leave when the day shifts end.
Honestly it was refreshing to be out and about rather than losing whole days to lectures. More time means better relationships with your intern … Read More »
The perks of rural medicine…one John Flynn scholar’s experience.
In January of this year I finished my second trip down to Albany to participate in the John Flynn placement program. For those who don’t know what it is, the John Flynn placement program is a program run through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, which pairs young medical students up with a doctor and a community sponsor in a rural location. The student then spends two weeks a year there for four years. The goals of the program include exposing medical students to rural medicine, assisting them to create relationships in the community and increasing their medical knowledge and experience. The placements are all around Australia and students have the choice to be placed within their own state or out of state. I made the choice to stay in … Read More »
What I learnt from 8 weeks in paediatrics.
Until recently, I was absolutely terrified of babies. Those little bundles of joy that can eat, sleep, cry and projectile vomit better than any other age group. Those little critters that appear very cute and cuddly, until you realise exactly where that putrid smell is coming from. Those precious little beings that are incapable of telling you why they are crying, if they feel sick or which part of their tiny bodies hurt.
Having lived through my late teens and now into my twenties, dealing with crying, vomiting, uncoordinated humans is not something I fear, and in fact something I have become quite good at doing on a Saturday nightly basis. However, what scared me the most about babies was not only their inability to tell you what was wrong, but their vulnerability and … Read More »
Pharmacology is simultaneously a subject that is both challenging and indispensible to medical students and junior doctors. While a certain amount of rote learning is enough to get you through exams, in order to really understand why medications are prescribed a deeper knowledge is needed. This in turn allows clinicians to adapt their knowledge to unique patient situations in order to facilitate the best possible outcome. Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology may seem at first to be a little daunting – it’s certainly hefty – but that’s only because it seeks to impart the background knowledge needed to fully understand the mechanism of many of the medications we commonly prescribe.
In order to do this, Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology by necessity discusses much of the normal physiology of systems commonly affected by drugs – if you don’t understand how a process normally … Read More »
Book Review – Clinical Examination: A Systematic Guide to Physical Diagnosis, 6th Edition by Nick Talley & Simon O’Connor
Throughout my medical education Talley and O’Connor’s Clinical Examination has been an invaluable resource. It discusses almost every aspect of interactions between clinicians and the people they treat, presenting a systematic process to guide you through almost any patient encounter. Not only is this Australian text popular in its country of origin, but it has also become a helpful core text for medical students and junior doctors around the world.
Clinical Examination is formatted in a systematic, logical way – much like the examination structure it espouses. After introductory chapters discussing the general principles behind history taking and examination the text is divided by biological system, for example cardiovascular and gastrointestinal. Within each chapter the system is discussed in same order that you would use when approaching a patient – history-taking considerations followed by examination directions. Specific review questions are suggested … Read More »
Gordian Fulde’s Emergency Medicine has been a great help so far in my emergency rotation. So I thought I would rave about it to you all! Starting with a few of the sections I’ve found particularly useful
Chapter 14 – Trauma. I knew nothing about trauma. I’ve never seen one, and I don’t know if it’s very good of me to wish that one would come through the doors of the hospital. So this text is where I’m scouring most of my information from at the moment. It goes through a systematic approach of how to assess trauma with important elements of a good history, primary survey (ABCDE), life threatening conditions that need immediate management, and how to do a detailed secondary survey. I like having a standardised, linear approach to remember, even if this is not always how it happens … Read More »
Working through the ECG Workbook
Interpreting ECGs is a challenge that has stymied me for years and with the aid of a new book on the topic (ECG Workbook by Rohan Jayasinghe) I set out to remedy this. Previously, I’d attempted to learn how to read an ECG by learning the theoretical basis and going from there. Since I was still unsure on how ECGs worked when I picked up the ECG Workbook, I assumed that that method wasn’t the best for my learning style. As such, I was intrigued by the fact that the majority of this book isn’t theory but is a collection of ECG images, each representing a different pathology and requiring interpretation. Before I opened the book, I took stock of what I knew already, which turned out to be a depressingly short list;
- The underlying science … Read More »
We bring you this news special of ‘bad doctors’.
A tearful story of Andrew having the wrong limb amputated. The damage done to old Margaret who was given the wrong dose of medication because they failed to recognise her failing kidneys.
The Chan couple whose childbirth took too long leading to hypoxia-induced brain damage of their first child. The Williams couple whose vasectomy failed and are claiming wrongful conception.
Gina whose mother would still be alive if she had been seen earlier in the ED. Harry who refused life-saving treatment but was given it all the same which means he lives with daily pain.
Doctors never seem to get it all correct and patients seem to be getting smarter about their rights. Gone are the days when ‘the doctor know best’. One wrong step now and you could find yourself in front of the … Read More »
Why you should be involved with your local surgical society – An interview with the founders of Surgia
A new student society has started at Griffith. The Surgical Interest Association, Surgia, is the brainchild of three medical students, Elliot Dolan-Evans, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Daniel Cattanach. I had a chat with Elliot and Siobhan to find out about their journey in starting the club, their plans for the future, and how you can get involved in your local society.
Claire: Why did you decide to start Surgia?
Elliot: Well I went to AMSA convention in first year and everyone was raving about their surgical societies, so I planned on joining one at Griffith. But then I found out we didn’t have one. A previous student had tried to start one up but it never got off the ground. So I got some students together and got one started. There’s a decreasing interest in surgery amongst medical students, and we wanted to … Read More »
For the inexperienced medical student, the words ‘Child Development Paediatrics’ are not the most enticing. While it is a critically important aspect of medicine in general, developmental paediatrics tends to conjure up images of wildly misbehaving children, generous doses of Ritalin and every colour of the autism spectrum.
I have been on my paediatrics rotation since mid January this year, and I must admit I was looking forward more to the aspects of cardiology and emergency medicine contained within the discipline, rather than seeing children with developmental delay. However, it wasn’t until I saw a child attempt to violently deconstruct the paediatrician’s office with their bare hands that I realised how distressing developmental issues can be. While a hole in the heart can be fixed with surgery, and asthma can be treated with inhalers, to me it seems significantly more distressing to be … Read More »
One of the essential textbooks for medical students at most universities around Australia (and many in the United States) is ‘Guyton and Hall’s Textbook of Medical Physiology.’ It is not only recommended at Monash but required. However, this vastly knowledgeable but unwieldy tome is difficult to carry with you whilst completing tasks on the ward. The ‘Pocket Companion to Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology 12e’ aims to fill this niche. However the question remains – is it a necessary role?
The ‘Pocket Companion’ is authored by contributors to the full volume it is designed to complement, so it carries a lot of credence. It is divided into units, and each chapter follows a pattern, building up from the cellular basis for that particular bodily system, explaining how the cells function as a unit (i.e. tissues) and then any organ-specific … Read More »
Book Review – A Primer of Clinical Psychiatry 2nd Ed by David Castle, Darryl Bassett, Joel King and Andrew Gleason
I wish, wish, wish I had this book when I was on my psychiatry rotation last year. It is absolutely amazing and anyone with a psych term coming up should definitely invest in a copy. I would almost go as far to say that by reading this book you are guaranteed to pass psych. But I won’t go that far, just in case someone fails and hunts me down!
The first part of this text might actually be useful for first and second years, or as a nice refresher if you’re a clinical student. It goes through how to take a good psych history and record the MSE. Then the formulation is taught in a table form, which is actually really useful when you first start doing them. If you can get a formulation right early on, you look pretty impressive … Read More »
Book Review – A Primer of Clinical Psychiatry 2nd edition by David Castle, Darryl Bassett, Joel King and Andrew Gleason
Learning medicine is kind of like building a snowman. In the beginning you think, ‘Wow, this is going to be so much fun, I’m going to roll some neat snow balls, and stack them together, and then with a few finishing flourishes I will have the best snowman ever!’ And it is exciting and fun, until you realise that snow is kind of heavy, and dirty, and cold, and absolutely does not like to be rolled into geometrically pleasing spheres. Then it becomes a race to slap enough snow together to form some semblance of a snow being before you lose interest in the task completely.
As someone with five years worth of half-started med summaries to my name, each categorised and colour-coded in a different way, I can relate to the common frustration encountered by many medical students regarding the … Read More »
I love that in the last few years the phrasing of this question has changed from ‘Why do you want to do medicine?’ to ‘Why did you decide to do medicine?’ That I will count as my first bout of success in this profession! I have spent ages pondering what to write only because the answer to this question is so personal I wonder if it measures up to the incredibly noble motives my peers have reasoned for choosing to pursue a career in medicine. At the end of the day someone somewhere thought my reasons were valid. So here goes…
As a child I changed what I wanted to be when I was older as often as I changed my clothes – corporate lawyer, accountant, doctor, pilot, doctor, teacher, aeronautical engineer, doctor…there was always something about medicine that drew me … Read More »
It sounds clichéd, but I’ve had my heart set on ‘being a doctor when I grow up’ since I was three years old and listening for any rales and rhonchi in Teddy’s lungs (of course, I didn’t know that was what I was doing back then!), plastering Rabbit’s fractured tail with band-aids and giving out brightly coloured paper ‘tablets’ to my dolls for their various ailments. A few years later, my parents took me to visit their home country of Bangladesh. There, for the first time in my young life I came face to face with sickness and raw suffering on the streets—it was overwhelming. After a few days, I remember proclaiming to my family that I was definitely going to be a doctor to ‘make all the sick people better’, and I guess I stuck to it, because here … Read More »
So why did I choose to pursue a career in medicine?
To be honest with you, I haven’t really thought of a genuine answer to this since being at the wrong end of the interview table a few years ago. I’ll admit that I have muttered it a few times during the odd biochemistry lecture, but that was more out of frustration and boredom than reflection. I’m in 4th year now; surely I should have an authentic, unique and impressive response to THE question by now, right?
I do recall snippets from my less-than-impressive, not-very-well-rehearsed interview response.
“So, why do you want you want to be a doctor?” drawled the professor, post-prandial drowsiness setting in just after the lunch hour.
I shuffled uncomfortably in my cheap, not-yet-worn-in suit.
“Uhm…well…I like science, and…ah life-long learning is a good thing. You … Read More »
The silence etched at my mind. I knew they were coming but the uncertainty of when was unbearable. With the flick of a switch my eyes were flooded with light. I raised a feeble hand to shield my face. I could not see their eyes but I could feel their searing gaze. Slowly as I blinked away the tears I began to see the silhouette of two men.
“Why did you decide to study medicine?” a voice inquired.
While a slight exaggeration, this highlights the vulnerability I feel whenever The Question is asked. My head is instantly filled with fleeting thoughts. What do they want to hear? How much do they know? What would they think? You would think after 3 years of medical school and 4 years of ideation around a career in medicine I would have an eloquent answer to … Read More »
My interest in medicine began from a very young age. After returning from visiting my premature little brother in the NICU, I remember creating pretend I.V.s for my dolls out of alligator clips and pushpins. As I got older my interest in medicine broadened. I enjoyed books featuring characters with medical issues, real life medical stories on TV, and especially the health section of the news.
This interest led to my involvement with children with special needs. Beginning at age 13, I worked for over five years with a young boy with Autism to help him to overcome his social withdrawal and become a functioning individual. I volunteered on the pediatric ward at a small, city hospital, a job I enjoyed very much.
While in University, I had many interesting conversations with my mother, a school psychologist, discussing some of her challenging … Read More »
No I don’t come from a family of doctors. No I’m not in it for the money. No I’m not one of those medical students that solely want to “help people” (although that is a bonus)… I just really, really, really like the science of medicine.
I first became interested in the notion of a medical career when I chose a year 10 science subject called “Outbreak!” which was all about infectious diseases. It was the brainchild of a teacher we all called Dr Worm (he had a PhD in intestinal worms) and it followed the fictional story of an outbreak of haemorrhagic fever. I can’t really remember much more than that, except really, really loving it, and thinking… THIS is the coolest kind of science.
I had a great love of biology all through high school, and thanks to some really … Read More »
General Practice: Probably the ideal starting rotation to ease into my clinical years. The day is usually spent in a relatively relaxed setting, the workload is not too demanding and it gives you a bit of everything you’ve managed to forget over the holidays. The scope of required knowledge is, unsurprisingly, vast reaching. However the depth is largely superficial – with the exception of a handful of common presentations – which makes it manageable. Nevertheless, it is at times intimidating having to know a little bit about every system, disease and presentation (and more than once I’ve found myself stumped and at the mercy of my supervisor). This warrants help, and there are a number of textbooks available for such a purpose.
‘General practice – the integrative approach’ compiles the common, uncommon and more uncommon (though not really the rare) diseases … Read More »
This article was supposed to be written six months ago. It was going to be full of superlatives describing the first half of my year abroad as a medical research student. But somewhere between ‘going to’ and ‘did not’ I got a bit side-tracked verbally abusing the ELISA machine. Nonetheless, I’m back in the world of clinical medicine now and able to give you a full year’s worth of superlatives, along with a bit of honest advice, about the life of a medical research student.
Medical students adverse to the idea of taking a year-long research project often cite the one main excuse: “I don’t want to be stuck in a lab.” Ignoring the fact that labs can be awesome, a student research project does not have to mean tucking yourself away in a stereotypically white and shiny bunker filled with … Read More »
Thick or thin. Hardcover or softcover. Handbook or full sized. Which edition? Which author?
Textbook buying in the medical world is no simple task. The limitless choices reflects the magnitude of information available to complement (or confuse) your learning. Too often new students ‘crack’ early in the year and purchase an unnecessary number of books in hope that owning them will be equivalent to understanding all the information they hold (I will admit I was one of those keen-beans!). Over time, however, some books will emerge as essential in your studies whilst others are duds (better used as doorstops/computer monitor raisers/bookshelf fillers). It is at this time you wish someone had warned you, especially since textbooks don’t come cheap.
So in this article I offer some tips in textbook buying and my ‘must-haves’ list from the hundreds of dollars worth of books … Read More »
‘Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine’ has been a mainstay of clinical reference since its first edition was published in 1987. Having used its fifth incarnation extensively throughout my medical education, I thought it was time to check out the latest version.
Now in its eighth edition and published just last year, Kumar and Clark have updated their text throughout to ensure it is in keeping with current medical knowledge. Of particular note are the sections on diagnostic processes, an area of medicine always undergoing dramatic change, as well as discussions of targeted therapies such as designer drugs and the role of genetics in diseases with complex inheritance patterns. Although all aspects of medicine feature in Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine, areas of particular concern to the authors are infectious diseases and those conditions related to lifestyle factors, due to the growing … Read More »
Several years ago, when I was in my final year of high school and thinking about “the future”, I was facing two diverging paths. I was doing more humanities subjects than science subjects (and getting better marks in them!) and there was a course at university called “Media and Communications” that I was quite interested in. On the other hand, the solid science of chemistry and biology was appealing to me as a more definitive career pathway. The choice was a difficult one but was made much easier when I was told that the university was in the process of dismantling the Media and Communications course and subjects, which led me to enrol in a biomedical science undergraduate course. Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I wasn’t particularly set on studying medicine as a graduate and had … Read More »
From Textbook to Operating Theatre
One student’s migration from reading, to an interview, to observation.
The Keystone Perforator Island Flap Concept textbook is potentially the best example of how to integrate anatomy, physiology, surgical technique and case studies. This is particularly true because whilst trainee and consultant surgeons utilize this concept, it was so well presented that a medical student emerged with a sound knowledge and appreciation.
The principle author is a Plastic Surgeon yet my queries have shown the technique to be successfully utilized by and not limited to general surgeons and dermatologists. This is because the concept of locoregional flaps is based upon sound principles and over 30 years of research making this approach both versatile and reliable.
The ageing population contributes greatly to the clinical need for locoregional flaps (as opposed to choosing other alternatives such as grafts or free flaps). … Read More »
The question “why did you decide to study medicine?” has a particular amnesic quality about it. The minute any examiner, doctor or family member asks it, you suddenly forget every answer you could have produced. The stock standard answer is “because I want to help people” – but in essence, this makes medicine no different from any other career involving health care or customer service! For me, medicine is about the irresistible combination of altruism, intellectual challenge and the dynamics of our knowledge base.
Medicine was not something I always wanted to do. When I was a child I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and pursue a career in physiotherapy. I have always been heavily involved in sport and saw physiotherapy as a way to expand and consolidate my passion for exercise. It wasn’t until I had … Read More »
Confessions of an overcommitted medical student
The 12 Steps of Workaholics Anonymous
I admit that I was losing power over my commitments – that my life had become somewhat ridiculous.
I came to believe that medical school could control my sanity.
I made a decision to turn my will and life over to my better judgement.
I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
I admitted to myself and my peers the exact nature of my willingness to participate in everything.
I was entirely ready to accept all these defects in my character.
I humbly asked my friends to overlook my short comings.
I made a list of all persons I had annoyed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
I made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would involve another commitment!
I continued to take personal inventory and … Read More »
The first edition of ‘Marshall & Ruedy’s On Call: Principles & Protocols’ has been an integral part of the Australian intern’s handbag (or man-bag) since shortly after its release here in 2007. Word spread quickly of a book combining step-by-step case notes for a series of emergency situations with a handy depository of facts and figures often required by young doctors. An easy comparison to make is that of the ‘Oxford Clinical Handbook,’ usually considered required reading for anyone entering their first clinical year of medicine.
This second edition is a localisation of Canadian authors Shane Marshall and John Ruedy, a cardiac care physician and pharmacology professor respectively. The three authors responsible for translation to the Australian system are Mike Cadogan, Antonio Celenza and Anthony F.T. Brown – the trio all belonging to the field of Emergency Medicine in some form … Read More »
Emergency departments aren’t for everyone. They are noisy, bright and full of patients who’d prefer not to be there. I don’t blame them and I understand their begrudging involvement in the process from personal experience. As a medical student, one of the most cathartic experiences you can have is to be a patient. I came into the emergency department on a busy Sunday evening under the impression that I may in fact be suffering from a real medical condition. That urban legend suggesting that medical students are hypochondriacs and experience every disease that they read about is simply not true, well most of the time. What I took from my 28-hour experience in hospital altered my time working in the emergency department during my Emergency Medicine rotation. I’ve collected these into some key rules I have for any student in … Read More »
For better or for worse, when there’s a topic we find difficult it is common to try and avoid the subject as much as possible. Embryology has always been an area of medicine which I’ve found challenging; I don’t think that I’m alone in that. So many obscure terms, difficult anatomical relationships that change and develop just when you begin to understand what’s going on, and a multitude of things that can go wrong at each stage of development resulting in myriad complications. Add to this the fact that many parts of embryology are not necessary knowledge for the day-to-day practice of medicine and I’ve more or less gotten through medical school with just barely enough embryology to pass exams.
Forgetting even that ignoring the topics that we know least about is a pretty poor coping mechanism, I really should have … Read More »
I recently completed a six week placement at a regional base hospital (and its private counterpart) under the tuition and supervision of a urological surgeon, working in both the public and private fields. Whilst more and more final year medical students are using their elective rotation to complete a Shantaram-like journey to a developing country to cure the locals of whatever affliction is endemic in their area, I chose to stay a little closer to home and learn about a field of medicine I’d had little to no exposure too in my previous four years of study.
Urological presentations are common amongst in-patients on the ward, and as an intern on a surgical rotation it is highly likely that I will be called upon to manage urological patients with complications such as urinary retention, oliguria or haematuria. In addition to the … Read More »
In recent years, there has been a large push to attract medical practitioners (and even earlier, medical students) to the country secondary to a large workforce shortage. A number of schemes and initiatives were put into place, including bursaries for those who work in areas of need, bonded medical student positions and scholarships rewarding those who intend to practice in rural Australia when their training is completed. Monash and Melbourne Universities’ Extended Rural Cohort program was a joint initiative with the aim of introducing students to country life by delivering the majority of their undergraduate clinical training in the areas it is hoped they would return to live and work as fully-fledged doctors.
Firstly, let’s clarify a few terms that a lot of people get confused. There are a plethora of pathways into medicine at the moment, all of which come … Read More »
Effectively getting through FCP/CBL/PBL (Foundations of Clinical Practice, Case Based Learning, Problem Based Learning)
Over at University of Western Australia, preclinical sciences are brought together and put in context each week through a class called Foundations of Clinical Practice (FCP). I’m sure every med school has a variant, be it Problem Based Learning/Case Based Learning (PBL/CBL). Besides having to take care of its weekly requirements (short summaries on the current topic/case), there is usually a substantial exam tying up everything you’ve learned at the end of semester.
Often FCP is left to the very last part of our study because of the crushing demands of all of the other classes. Here are some points to improve quality and increase the efficiency of your PBL posts, and help target your revision when exam time approaches.
Get in front of them early, and take your time!
Let’s be honest – many of you (myself included) at a pinch, … Read More »
Pathology Guides – Beacons for a Stormy Sea (Crash Course Pathology and Pocket Companion to Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease 8e)
This piece isn’t written specifically about the two books I used in 2012, but more broadly as a recollection of the problems I encountered (and observed in general) during preclinical pathology classes, and the solutions I came up with in response. Hopefully you have a better experience with it than I did – coming from an engineering background I have never had to learn so much volume ever before!
This year my pathology course was roughly divided into an initial half of general pathology followed by a half of systems pathology to end the year. The first time you have to tackle pathology, infectious diseases and pharmacology, it’s a bit of a shock to the system – there is so much to cram into your brain!
A big part of early success comes down to understanding the core terminology in pathology, and … Read More »
Having gone into medicine with the vision of eventually working in a critical care or trauma related field, I jumped at the opportunity to conduct my first year elective in paediatric anaesthetics! I was really keen to try out anaesthesia early, as we only get two weeks of placement in anaesthetics in the final year of medical school training. During my clinical experience, I was attached to the anaesthetics team at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
The hospital was as bright and friendly as I had remembered, having been there before a number of times in my younger years – the atmosphere and attitude of the staff is unlike any other regular or ‘adult’ hospital (they seem to be perpetually happy and energetic). Vibrantly coloured drawings and play areas within the hospital help to make kids feel a little less worried … Read More »
With the ever frantic pace of medical school, it is always a constant battle to keep on top of study as well as fitting in all those extracurricular activities (clubs, societies, sporting teams, interest groups). This is on top of finding time for life outside of medicine (rest, relaxation, friends, family/kids, hobbies, perhaps a part time job and spiritual activities)!
The field of medicine has expanded extraordinarily over the past century and as a result, it is practically impossible to know everything (I guess that’s why we eventually specialise in one area when we become doctors). Having already completed a previous undergraduate course, I thought that I would finally ‘start studying from the beginning’ this time when I started medicine… although I quickly realised that despite my best efforts, there was still never enough time to learn everything!
Realising that you can … Read More »
Lectures make up the main bulk of most medical school programs (although there are some courses which place a greater emphasis on problem based learning tutorial sessions to deliver content). With the new academic year just starting, I thought I would share some of the note taking techniques I have utilised during my time as a university student!
Having completed a four year undergraduate pharmacy degree and just starting the second year of my graduate medical course, I have had the opportunity to try a number of different strategies in lectures over the past five years. When I first started, I used to bring a blank notepad and jot down in dot point everything the lecturers said. While this was comprehensive and had the advantage of not having to print out lecture notes, the downside was I found that I wasn’t … Read More »
There are certain stereotypes that exist within the world of medical school. Some are passed down from student to student, whilst others are formed early in our university years from our misconceptions or insecurities. These are not hateful perceptions of elements of our education, most are just nagging “rules” we make in our own minds about what is important or – for lack of a more philosophically satisfying word – true.
As I’ve only been to one medical school, and only know a handful of others from other universities, I’ve done my best to keep this list general.
6. Rural placements are inferior
There is a certain belief held by some that placements in a rural area are of a lower quality and are subsequently undesirable. Whilst there are many counter-arguments mounted by those who have experienced a rural rotation, the most convincing … Read More »
Pre-clinical medical students are all about the rote learning of clinical signs. Hours of clinical skills lectures teach us to absentmindedly grope at each others bodies with the frenzied pace of a rabid meerkat as we try to recall the fifteen to twenty pathological signs that definitely appear on the hands when disease is present. It is only with the wisdom granted by clinical placements that we discover that senior clinicians really do not want to sit through a ten-minute list of all the clinical signs that are not present. As unsatisfying as it is to lamely reply “No peripheral stigmata of disease” when you know every gosh darn item of that systemic review checklist, the clinicians involved will thank you for this simplified transaction.
Most medical students are adept at happily announcing an absence of clinical signs during a bedside … Read More »
Perhaps one of the most intensely personal questions you can ask a medical student is ‘Why did you decide to study medicine?’ It seems like a straightforward enough request, especially when you consider how many times a med student will be asked it over the course of their studies. But for some reason, the utterance of these eleven syllables can induce such a profound nervous response in those it is asked of, that it may make you wonder how such students will ever forge a career in a field that requires proficient communication skills.
The first important test involving ‘The Question’ comes in the form of med school interviews. In truth, most applicants are able to hide their nervousness and put forward a smooth, albeit, well-rehearsed answer in this context. But it’s when a shrewd consultant or cynical patient springs the … Read More »
Emergency Medicine MCQs is a study aid recently published by Elsevier with the hopes of assisting junior doctors with their preparation for emergency medicine examinations. Written by two prominent Australian emergency physicians this text is primarily aimed at registrar level, however while many questions may be a challenge it would also be of interest to more junior readers planning a career in emergency medicine.
The text is structured in a logical, systems-based fashion, with questions for each physiological system presented in the first half of the book and answered in the second. This method will be familiar to readers who have used other MCQ books in the past, although it does necessitate flipping back and forth through the text in order to answer individual questions. Alternatively, it allows for the questions to be answered as a block, and the answers reviewed … Read More »
There are a small number of books considered compulsory reading amongst junior medical students starting their first clinical year, and a few less considered worthy of ownership. Having read ‘Mechanisms of Clinical Signs’ by Dennis, et al. I would wager there is a new addition to the inventory.
This first edition text does not aim to teach readers the intricacies of clinical examination – in fact, in the preface the lead author urges students to consult ‘Clinical Examination’ by Talley and O’Connor if that is what they’re looking for. Instead, this is more a supplemental piece for fast reference when on the ward or perhaps during a bedside tutorial. Whether or not a diagnosis is elicited is irrelevant: the goal here is to gain a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology that leads to the signs and symptoms experienced by the … Read More »
Reading an ECG… Like a Boss by Jen McAuliffe, Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador
My latest social media outlet has been twitter and the proclamation of <3’ing something or other, usually an inanimate object or food. Therefore, in homage to this new craze I’m traversing, I should like to broadcast that ‘i <3 ECGs’.
But life wasn’t always this sweet. Believe it or not my fellow meddies, there was a time, a time before the new ECG Workbook where ECGs would have me running for cover – dramatic pause - no longer my friends! Now I own the ECGs… like a boss (cue superstar music).
At least I never felt alone in my once irrational fear of those three letters… E.C.G. Many a medical student has qualms about reading an ECG for a consultant or reg. Mostly it seems like it is all … Read More »
When reflecting on 5 years of medical school, it is hard to imagine where all the knowledge is gone. My brain doesn’t feel particularly engorged, nor do I feel I have the confidence in what I know to stare my consultant in the eye and answer all their questions. Even though I haven’t developed a professorial knowledge base after 5 years, I have finished, thankfully, and now is as good a time as any to give those still completing this degree some advice. So within this article I present, Andrew Rawlin’s 5 tips for medical school.
1. Attend everything
I know this sounds fairly self explanatory, if you don’t attend lectures and tutorials, not only will you not make your attendance hurdle requirements and probably fail, the other disadvantage will be you won’t learn anything. But it is so much more than … Read More »
When you start medicine all the variables are managed for you. Lectures are scheduled for an ever-too-early 8am start; all events but minor field trips are held on-campus at Clayton; even the people you work with on projects are predetermined. All you have to do is attend – and sometimes, it feels like that is asking too much. Fortunately, as you progress you slowly gain a little more freedom. By your first clinical year, you are given a selection of hospitals – if you’re lucky, you may even get one of your top seven preferences (I’m still convinced administration just spin a magic wheel to select where students go for placement). And by your final year, you are given the ultimate of liberties – a placement to be conducted anywhere in the world, for six whole weeks (conditions may apply, … Read More »
Book Review – Marshall & Ruedy’s On Call: Principles & Protocols, 2nd Edition by Mike Cadogan, Anthony F T Brown and Tony Celenza
There’s been a lot of talk recently amongst medical students and interns alike about Marshall & Ruedy’s On Call: Principles & Protocols, 2nd Edition. It’s been lauded as the junior doctor’s answer to difficult cover shifts, particularly overnight when the usual support systems aren’t present. I’ve heard it compared favourably to the ‘Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine’, another staple medical student guide. I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Let me start by saying that while OHCM is a fantastic guide that provides a great overview of many conditions, On Call is something else entirely. While OHCM is structured around diseases, listing their signs, symptoms, management and prognosis, On Call approaches clinical work from a more practical point of view, starting with common presentations before running through possible differentials, initial assessment and on-the-go management.
After an extensive abbreviation list … Read More »
Knowing What To Do & Why – When You’re On Call – Marshall & Ruedy’s On Call Principles and Protocols (2nd ed.)
This textbook took me by surprise. Whilst being an excellent Australia-specific resource for managing on-call dilemmas, it actually explains why you would do something, or the theories behind it, thereby giving you a firm foothold in what can be a very chaotic environment.
Who is the target audience?
Frequently the interns and young residents are left to run the wards whilst registrars and consultants spend time in clinic or theatre. As such, this book is most applicable to those nearing the end of their studies or embarking on internship. Emergency medicine isn’t confined to the emergency department and you must know what to do not if, but WHEN emergencies arise.
What does it cover?
General principles surrounding on-call issues
Frequently encountered medications
Managing … Read More »
Elsevier iPad App Round up – Netter’s Anatomy, OSCE’s in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Talley & O’Connor’s Pocket Clinical Examination
Elsevier iPad App Round up – Netter’s Anatomy, OSCE’s in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Talley & O’Connor’s Pocket Clinical Examination
Over the past few months I have been playing with a number of Elsevier’s medical apps written for the iOS Apple iPad platform. I’ve previously written about the advantages of using the iPad in medicine – one of the biggest benefits is being able to have ready access to all your reference texts in one device which weighs less than one textbook! In this article, I will be looking at three iPad apps: Netter’s Anatomy Atlas, OSCE’s in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Talley & O’Connor’s Pocket Clinical Examination.
Netter’s Anatomy Atlas for iPad.
This anatomy app is based off the 5th edition of the Netter’s Atlas book and contains all of the plates/images in the book plus a collection of 40 plates with anatomic … Read More »
Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology has become one of the staples of any medical student’s library, an all-encompassing reference tool perfect for understanding every detail of human physiology. I personally found it invaluable when first encountering this broad subject. The text is, however, very thorough; what makes it perfect as a reference to the subject in its entirety, limits its ability somewhat to act as a quick reference or on-the-go guide. Thankfully though John Hall, one half of the team behind the textbook, has given us the Pocket Companion to Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology.
Although pocket-sized might be an exaggeration, the companion text strikes a perfect balance between depth of content and portability. It’s entirely possible to throw this book in your bag on the way to the hospital – the same cannot be said for … Read More »
Towards the end of last my first article was accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal. This represented the culmination of a years worth of research, not to mention over six months spent navigating the peer-review journal system. This system can be difficult and confusing, particularly for a student who has never published before. Below I outline some of my experiences in the preparation and submission of my journal article.
The first step when publishing an article, apart from conducting the research of course, is to pick a journal to submit to. This can be difficult, as you have to balance the best quality publication against what is likely to be achievable considering the merits of your study. The advice I was given was to aim high – apply first to the journal at the top of your wish list and … Read More »
Time: Saturday morning about 10:30am
Place: Clinical School Lecture Theatre
Context: Final Year OSCE revision session
My mental state: Distracted, writing this review
Last slide before concentrating on this review -
Key tips for an examination station examination:
* REMEMBER to wash your hands – marks awarded last semester
* Scan for equipment on table / couch / near sink
* Is there an observation chart to interpret further information. e.g. abdo exam
* DM, PVD, CVS – photos, X-rays etc. E,g, diabetes complications case – marks were awarded if you “ask for the appropriate tests or images/x-rays”
Antenatal Consults, one of the least likely topics to come up at the end of my final year as an OSCE station is on my mind. Why? I put it down to it being the first in a series of my last three books that I have read and to review, for … Read More »
Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador Tim Duong recently sat down with Dr Sandra Johnson who is author of recently published A Clinical Handbook on Child Development Paediatrics.
Tim: Could you firstly tell me a bit about yourself and your journey in becoming a paediatrician?
Sandra: My journey started when I was very young. I recall from the age of about five, I used to bandage my dogs and cats pretending that they had injuries. At school when children injured themselves I was the one trying to fix them up. In my mind I knew I always wanted to be a doctor, so there was no question after high school that I wanted to attend medical school.
I completed my medical school training at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and did my internship at the Groote Schuur Hospital, where Christiaan Bernard … Read More »
Davidson’s 100 Clinical Cases, 2nd Edition by Mark Strachan, BSc MBChB(Hons) MD FRCP Edin, Surendra K. Sharma, MD, PhD and John A. A. Hunter, OBE BA MD FRCP Edin
One of the great things about being an Elsevier Student Ambassador is the opportunity to get some complimentary books. The worst thing about it is you have to actually review the book in return! It’s not that I don’t like reading, or even writing about a book…. it’s just that we’re all so busy and you worry that the time you devote to the book is possibly dragging you away from other important things – like clinical learning experiences, studying to make sure you are not the dumbest student in your cohort (my great fear), or just life in general.
Davidson’s 100 Clinical Cases 2nd edition, was a different experience for me. The … Read More »
As senior students approach their final rotations before graduation, the realisation that real work is only a few short months away is somewhat hidden under the promises of the last free summer holiday ever. But come January, the class of 2011 will be starting the real stuff with responsibilities, a paycheck that should end the mi goreng and iffy leftovers diet, and of course, overnight shifts.
As Interns are the most cost effective employees, they are rostered to keep an eye on the ward overnight, performing the basic grunt work of paper work and fluid reviews, however, there is the added responsibility of acutely managing patients. As interns are obviously not experienced to handle all acute presentations and decompensations on the ward by themselves, policy and commonsense dictate that they should call a senior clinician to report the case and get … Read More »
The main method consultants will assess your practical skills is through your systems-based exam abilities. OSCEs and long cases are the obvious examples of when your abilities will be tested, with bedside tutorials another common time where you may be asked to demonstrate exam technique.
Every consultant has their “favourite” thing about exams that they feel students usually get wrong or “aren’t taught properly”. In my short time in clinical medicine and through the anecdotes of others, I’ve put together a list to keep in mind when you start developing your examination skills. My best tip to you is to remind you that you will never truly learn the perfect examination whilst you’re a student, others will have neat tricks they use to help get the information they need. Always accept feedback, even if it’s from a peer, because they might … Read More »
Medical school is full of amazing experiences and each student will graduate with their own special memories of their university training. I’d like to talk about 4 opportunities that every medical student has to make the most of their time during this time of our lives.
1) Make contact with a patient everyday
There is a common (and quite accurate) notion in clinical medicine that you learn the most about a disease from the patients who have it. I’m sure most of you have at least one patient who you can remember that will always remind you of a particular condition. For me it’s a pilonodal sinus, not exactly the most exciting of conditions, but it was an encounter that I’ll never forget! This is the basis of clinical experience, a tool used by senior clinicians to narrow their differential diagnosis.
On the … Read More »
Rob Capstick, Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador reviews new Australian title ‘Practical Management of Head and Neck Injury‘ edited by Jeffrey V Rosenfeld.
Traumatic injuries to the head and neck are not only a common presentation to emergency departments across the country, with the potential for significant morbidity and mortality, but they are a subject that medical students are frequently examined on and a thorough understanding of the topic is important to all junior doctors. ‘Practical Management of Head and Neck Injury‘, edited by Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld.
‘Practical Management of Head and Neck Injury‘ goes on to discuss the acute management of such injuries in the pre-hospital setting. Using the DRABC algorithm familiar to medical students and doctors alike, the author describes each component in terms of how they might be compromised in an acute brain injury, and how the responder … Read More »
Mechanisms of Clinical Signs
By Mark Dennis, MBBS (Honours) , William Talbot Bowen, MBBS, MD and Lucy Cho, MBBS, MIPH, BA (University of Sydney)
“Mechanisms of Clinical Signs” has swift become one of my favourite books. We have all experienced the pain of reading one sentence at least 10 times and still struggling to comprehend its meaning, and then falling asleep. I may be alone here, but what I want in a textbook is a clear, understandable explanation backed by a colourful, descriptive picture and some evidence to support it. And I want this in as little text as possible, with a subject never spreading longer than 2 pages. Is this too much to ask? Obviously not according to Mark Dennis, William Talbot Bowen and Lucy Cho, who have created this spectacular ode to pathophysiology and physical diagnosis.
Ever found yourself talking authoritatively … Read More »
From the 15th-19th of September 2012, medical students from all across Australia gathered in Cairns with a single unified goal, to one day use their experience/influence/knowledge to make a difference on the large scale. 4 days of internationally acclaimed speakers was to shape the doctors, public health authorities and, perhaps, some most influential people of tomorrow.
Cairns was the perfect backdrop to this extraordinary event which is now in its 7th year. The simple, sunny, sleepy town contrasts the seriousness of the topics, intensity of the debates and sharpness of the attendees’ minds. But not all was academic; the nightly social events lived up to true AMSA style being well organised, encouraging cross-university mingling and sprouting friendships which will extend beyond the conference.
The academic program involved 3 days of talks tailored to daily themes of: global perspectives, local and regional perspectives … Read More »
ECG Workbook by Rohan S. Jayasinghe. Australia: Elsevier; 2012. RRP: $59.95
Like tools are to a plumber, correct ECG interpretations are to a doctor. ECG’s are the basis of diagnosis for most of the patients that walk through a hospital door. How many patients do you see as a student or intern that don’t have an ECG tucked into their notes and how many times do you look at the ECG and quietly think to yourself “what on earth is going on?” and sheepishly pray that the consultant doesn’t ask you to interpret the ECG? Mastering an ECG is the foundation of being a doctor, an essential skill that you won’t be able to shy away from in “the real” life as a doctor. So in the quest to find a book that would put my ECG fears to a stop, … Read More »
Entering my first clinical year following two of passive preclinical university-based studies I felt a significant change in the ‘feel’ of learning. Worried it might just be me experiencing this shift I subtlety enquired around both peers of my level and those above to see what everyone else though. Interestingly I received a variety of responses; whilst some were ‘loving being in the hospital’ (and often this was followed with recounts of awesome surgeries, seeing childbirths and doing venipunctures), others sourly admitted they ‘learnt nothing at hospital’ and thought it was ‘a bit of a waste of time’ (these people often had few exciting stories and spent most of their time ‘waiting’ to be given something to do). Perhaps some may blame the organization of one’s respective hospital for this but I believe the difference outlined here reflects how well … Read More »
During my final year of medical school I completed an elective rotation in hand surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, New York. Plastic surgery is a clinical field that I have been interested in for some time, and hand surgery as a sub-specialty in particular has attracted me. In addition I was interested in experiencing medical practice in another country, specifically in America, where the quality of healthcare has long been the subject of international debate. Having never been to New York, I thought that a placement in Manhattan would be a perfect opportunity for me to explore the city as well as gain a new perspective on the practice of medicine.
The structure of the placement allowed me the perfect opportunity to address my goals for this rotation. I was attached directly to an attending surgeon, rather … Read More »
Scientific research. Some students enjoy it, some appreciate the idea of it and others approach it unwillingly (and only do so as it is compulsory within their course). Recently I have found myself (and my peers) negotiating Honours projects for 2013 as it is mandatory for us (UNSW) to undertake a year of scientific research. The fact most people are running around with no idea of what to do, unaware of how to approach supervisors and confused about what needs to be discussed, has prompted me to write an advice piece. Regardless of whether you are arranging a year-long project, summer placement or some other research related activity it is best to know what you are getting yourself into and negotiate the best ‘terms’ possible.
The role of scientific research in advancing medical practice is fundamental and, as future physicians, we … Read More »
‘Doctors without anatomy are like moles. They work in the dark and the work of their hands are mounds.’ Friedrich Tiedemann (1781-1861)(German anatomist and physiologist)
As evolving medical curriculums strive for an integration between the basic sciences and clinical medicine; it has been brought to the medical community’s attention that this ‘revolution’ has come at the price of traditional teaching and, with it, time dedicated to pure anatomy learning.
Several studies and articles, in both scientific(1) and mainstream(2&3) publications, have reviewed this issue in light of integrated learning becoming the norm.
Where traditional preclinical courses dedicated up to 8 hours of gross anatomy teching per week with access to dissection specimens or pro-sections. Current programs have dwindled teaching down to an average of 3 hours per week with minimal cadaver access and large neglect of surface anatomy and embryology. Not only has it … Read More »
Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador, Ben Jacka Review’s ‘Crash Course Nervous System, 4th Edition‘ by Jenny Ross.
What makes the Crash Course series different from other textbooks? As I admired the matt finish cover, I wondered how the authors of this edition expected to make good on their promise of providing the exam syllabus in one place.
If you’ve picked up a textbook and opened the cover, then know that the authors often aim at a wide cross-sectional audience – people with differing levels of understanding and different prior experience. This makes for a great general book, from which most of us can learn effectively.
The issue of most textbooks is not their depth, some people will read them cover-to-cover. For medical students, it is helping the efficiency of study; we have exposure to background and breadth information through corresponding lecture notes, tutorials … Read More »
Crash Course Anatomy, 4th Edition By Louise Stenhouse, BSc(Hons) MBChB(Hons) – Review by Melissa Lee
It is a well-known saying – one which I’m sure most of you have heard before, that “they don’t teach you as much anatomy as they did back in my day”. If you haven’t copped this before, you have clearly not spent enough time in theatre! But it’s true. Medical students ARE being taught far less anatomy than back in the day when students would spend an entire year dissecting and learning the ins and outs of the human body. Now we rely heavily on textbooks, CDs, Wikipedia – anything which will explain where the %!&@ muscle x originates from and inserts onto – or into even. Times have changed. And with that, it’s imperative that every medical student finds a good textbook to learn a … Read More »
Rylan Hayes reviews ‘Crash Course Renal and Urinary System, 4th Edition’ By Timothy L Jones
A while ago a friend told me about the ‘crash course’ series of books, but I neglected to follow up at my own expense. However, I recently had the opportunity to review the new version of ‘Renal and Urinary System Crash Course’ and my first foray into the series showed me what I’ve been missing.
Renal physiology can be scary (exemplified by my embarrassing confusion during PBL the morning I wrote this review). No matter how much you stare at things like the counter-current mechanism, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. This is where crash course really helps bring you back to the basics. The book is a very easy read, set out well with a plethora of diagrams and tables it aims to guide the reader … Read More »
Google Professor Mike South and you’ll find a plethora of sites linked to this tech savvy export of the UK, now Consultant Paediatrician and Intensivist at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Prof South to talk to him about the latest 7th edition of ‘Practical Paediatrics’, released in June this year, a textbook now ubiquitous since appearing in 1986. ‘Practical Paediatrics’ is a unique collaboration, with contributors from as far away as Southern Africa and New Zealand.
Ben: How do you go about managing this sort of massive task, to edit something with so many authors?
Prof South: So that’s the interesting thing, I’ve written a lot of stuff over the years and it’s much easier when you’re completely in control of the process itself. A lot of people recognise they’re being asked because they … Read More »
If I had my time at medical school again, I would do things a little differently. One of those things, apart from treating my liver with a little more respect, would have been to put a lot more time and effort into the study of pathology. Pathology certainly wasn’t as sexy, at the time, as some of the other clinical sciences such as cramming to learn muscle insertions and origins or memorising the Henderson Hasselbalch equation, but in retrospect, the study of pathology could have answered a lot of my unanswered questions. I recommend this point strongly to anybody in his or her pre-clinical years. Pathology, in its translated form is the study of disease. It underpins how dysfunctional processes within the body cause sickness and despair in patients, from the cellular level to the level of the organ system. … Read More »
Elsevier Australia Medical Student ambassador Tim Duong recently interviewed Elsevier author Professor Abul K. Abbas. Professor Abbas is currently Professor & Chair of the Deptartment of Pathology, UCSF, and author of a number of prestigious Elsevier Publications including ‘Basic Immunology 3e’, ‘Cellular & Molecular Immunology 7e’ and ‘Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease 8e’.
Tim Duong (TD): Why did you choose to pursue a career in medicine?
Professor Abul K. Abbas (AA): I found human biology and disease intellectually very interesting, so my decision was more based on the intellectual challenge than on a desire to be a healer. That, of course, is why I ended up doing mostly research.
TW: And why did you choose to specialise in pathology/immunology in particular? (It doesn’t seem to be as glamorous amongst medical students – in Australia less than 1% of graduates choose to go into … Read More »
Around this time every year the final year students at each medical school are busy putting together their applications for internships. The process varies between Australian states but in each case it’s a significant distraction for the students as they take the next step in their careers and out into the real world.
As a final year student on a rotation, there is an increased expectation of your skills. Most university courses encourage hospitals to treat their final year students like “pre-interns”. As a result there are certain tasks that the teams might ask you to do. In final year you’ll spend a majority of your time doing jobs for the team with little, or even no supervision. Some paperwork tasks need to be signed or countersigned by a doctor so you’ll need to get confirmation from the team before any of that … Read More »
Since I last reflected on my final year, I’ve complete terms in Plastic Surgery, Emergency Medicine and I’m not placed on Neurosurgery at the Alfred hospital in Melbourne. These rotations have been quite busy and it has been a challenge to juggle the demands of fulltime clinical placement and looming deadlines for internship applications. In Victoria, internship positions are allocated by a merit based computer matching system. This means students spend a number of hours preparing cover letters and CVs for various hospitals around the state. I consider myself particularly lucky though, some of my international peers are applying for work around Australia to try and secure work in Australia.
The issue around internship places vs. graduating medical student numbers is a contentious political issue and the Australian Medical Student Association (AMSA) has worked for many years to lobby the government … Read More »
As I approach the start of my final year of medicine I reflect upon how much I have experienced throughout my previous 4 years of medical school and look forward to the year ahead as I experience some rotations for the first time and begin the exciting process of applying for my first job in the hospital system.
To the wide-eyed first year, the final year students may seem the veterans of an exciting new world but, to let you in on a dirty little secret, most of the final year students can scarcely believe that we’ve been here for so long and have deep concerns that people believe in us enough to trust us to exercise our skills in a professional setting this time next year.
Whilst it’s been 4 years of dedicated (or not so dedicated) study towards our qualification, … Read More »
Reading ECGs is a skill which isn’t taught very comprehensively in medical school, however is very necessary for junior doctors and medical students – particularly those doing rotations through the emergency/critical care fields and cardiology. The ‘ECG Workbook’ is a new Australian text by Queensland Cardiologist & Professor of Cardiology at Griffith Medical School, Dr Rohan Jayasinghe. It aims to develop skills in ECG interpretation with a particular focus on the clinical context and the “whole patient” situation in which the ECG is taken, including identifying causes and the treatment/management for each rhythm. The book is divided into 3 sections:
1) ‘Basics of the ECG’ which describes the physiology behind the ECG, the actual procedure of electrode placement and performing an ECG and the systematic approach to interpreting the ECG (looking at rate, rhythm, axis, and each part of the PQRST … Read More »
‘250 Cases in Clinical Medicine’ by Ragavendra R. Baliga is a pocket sized book, which is aimed at building skills in clinical examination (and history taking) for both medical students and physician’s exams. It covers cases in all the major medical domains: Cardiovascular, Neurology, Respiratory, Abdomen, Rheumatology, Endocrinology, Dermatology, Eye and miscellaneous cases. The list of index cases contained within this book is extensive and should prove to be a helpful guide during both medical training and practice for higher examinations. While the cases were heavily weighted towards neurology and dermatology, I found that it contained an adequate number and variety of cases in each of the medical domains.
As a medical student, I see the cases contained in this book as being very useful for practising for OSCE exams. Each case begins with an instruction, as you would receive at the … Read More »
It frustrates you how ubitiquous that set of swiggly lines, which you don’t understand, are in medicine. You see them in ED, you see them in patient files and, of course, they litter the cardiology/cardiothoracic units. ECG. The simple acronym undermines the confusion and pain they cause us medical students.
Enter ‘ECG Workbook’ by Rohan Jayasinghe. Sure there is a large selection of ECG textbooks or handbooks out there but what is a ‘workbook’ (it probably makes you think of colouring and alphabet in primary school)? Well then perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of this publication is its intention to help you actively ‘work’ through various ECG features and patterns rather than being a book containing large chunks of text intervened by unfamiliar ECG traces which are difficult to digest. Let me outline the structure of this book to highlight how … Read More »
The complete edition of ‘Kumar & Clark’s Clinical Medicine’ has been a prescribed text at Monash University for many years now, due to its extensive coverage of almost all medical conditions likely to be encountered by students on the wards and in their curricula. However, the much larger Kumar & Clark, now in its 6th edition, is far too bulky to keep with you at all times – as much as some students would like to have it with them on rounds. To fill this niche, we have ‘Essentials of Kumar & Clark’s Clinical Medicine 5th edition,’ a companion piece aiming to provide a portable, quick reference to clinical medicine.
The obvious comparison for ‘Essentials of Kumar & Clark’s Clinical Medicine 5th edition’ by Anne Ballinger is the ‘Oxford Handbook for Clinical Medicine’. This book, published by Oxford University Press, has often been … Read More »
Every once in a while I am certain that my brain is rotting. Not because I have any hard evidence, nor any particular reason, but rather because I find it incredibly difficult to categorise and remember the specific signs for any one disease or system. This has lead to untold hardship during evenings with colleagues as we attempt to turn learning medicine into yet another drinking game or dumpling eating competition. More realistically perhaps, it has been proven on multiple occasions that consultants prefer students to have some idea of what the sign they have cleverly spotted means, rather than just its eponymous name.
The information has always been available, on the Internet or sprinkled through textbooks. I could name a dozen other books that I’ve reviewed that contain at least some of this information. The issue with this method of … Read More »
During the rural placement of my second year of medical training, one of the most rewarding experiences for me was the General Practice visit. Before even arriving in the rural town, I had been looking forward to the GP visit, due to the possibility that I could be attached to an old friend of my parents. Over the course of the day I gave many flu shots and spoke to a lot of patients. But as always, being a 2nd year medical student (low on the ladder of the health profession) was a hard self-perception to shake. Most of the day was spent as a silent observer. Although to think about one specific incident still makes me feel uncomfortable.
The incident involved a home visit to a young man with motor neurone disease. He was 25 years old and had first … Read More »
ClinicalKey Launch – Tim Duong (2nd year USYD)
In July 2012, Elsevier’s ClinicalKey was launched at a snazzy function at Sydney Tower, overlooking the city night lights.
“What on earth is ClinicalKey?” I hear you asking. In simple terms, I think of it as being a “medical google” – but with extra features! ClinicalKey is an information tool designed to make accessing evidence based and verified clinical information easy for both clinicians and medical students. It is as easy as using the Google search engine and the advantage is that every result you find is trustworthy (unlike some of the websites you might find on the internet).
While Wikipedia is a favourite amongst university students, the questionable reliability of the information is often drilled into us by the librarians and Evidence Based Medicine lecturers. The main reason why so many people rely on … Read More »
Are you the next Charlie Teo? Maybe the next Victor Chang? Do you have what it takes to ‘cut’ it as the next revolutionary, meticulous, perfectionist surgeon?
This is the inaugural Australasian Students’ Surgical Conference held at UNSW on the 30th of June 2012 bringing together the ambitious, the curious, the competitive and some of the most promising medical students/JMOs from medical schools around the country. It is a day discussing application, training, specialities, lifestyle and future directions of a surgical career with the best clinicians in each respective field.
The day began with an introduction from the President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Professor Michael Hollands whom expressed delight in the number of students interested in a surgical career. This was quickly followed by a procession of surgeons, representing each of the nine surgical specialities, all of whom were subtly (or for some, not so … Read More »
A Medical Student Elective Report
Part 1 – The Orientation
For months now I’ve suffered from writers block about exactly how to do justice to the transforming effect my advanced clinical placement (aka elective) at Mulanje Mission Hospital has had on my perspective and approach to medical education. I’ve previously written about my approach to my final year in medicine, and substantially this does not vary much from it, but rather embellishes and explains the motivations behind these thoughts. This piece attempts to bring together these shards together into a story I can relay on to you. I spent just over six weeks in total in Mulanje during my elective; this report is divided up into three parts – the orientation, the main act, and the conclusion.
Mulanje Mission Hospital, about 2000hrs on December 13th 2011, a white Toyota Landcruiser rumbles up the dirt … Read More »
As part of our final year every medical student at my university undertakes a six-week placement in aged care. For many readers of this article it will be unnecessary to say that students usually approach this placement with less than enthusiasm. Although I started my rotation with trepidation, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.
I should start by saying that, just with any clinical placement, each rotation is unique and therefore my experiences are not reflective of all aged care placements. I’ve certainly heard some horror stories from other students about less than ideal experiences. My placement was in an acute setting, with the unit conducting consults for patients in relation to the management of complex conditions and discharge planning. There were certainly downsides to this arrangement – if you’re after a glamorous lifestyle or patients under 60, aged … Read More »
Often as a medical student when we are assisting in theatre thing go on that we don’t understand. It doesn’t matter how closely you’re keeping track of what’s happening, occasionally something will occur that you aren’t able to follow. Reconstructive plastic surgery is one field where this can happen frequently, since at times it can be hard to work out where exactly the flap has come from, let alone how it’s going to fill the defect. In situations like this only a solid understanding of the relevant anatomy and physiology of flaps can allow us to better understand how a procedure is done, and why. ‘The Keystone Perforator Island Flap Concept’ by Felix Behan, Michael Findlay and Cheng Hean Lo seeks to comprehensively describe a useful procedure in plastic surgery, from the fundamentals of flap design to its myriad clinical applications.
This … Read More »