“Come Match Day there will be many cheers and tears of joy, there will also be private anger and disappointment. This is a stressful time in the lives of medical trainees. Should so much joy and sorrow hang on the pursuit of a specialty?”
A reflection on specialty choice, our privilege to study medicine, and fulfillment drawing on The Way of Chuang Tzu. On The Muse Magazine’s blog: LINK
Balancing my family life and medical training have been challenging the last few years, especially during clinical rotations. We welcomed our third child as I started residency and this fall I began looking into taking parental leave. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. When I first brought it up those in medicine I expected resistance, instead I found strong support from my program, preceptor, and mentors. Everything is set up, all the paperwork submitted, as of today I’m taking 6 months of leave to enjoy with my family.
Thanks everyone that reads the blog and follows on Twitter.
With interviews on the horizon I thought back on my experience last year. I found this post useful (link), it collects some tips and was put together by another Western grad. To those I will add a few of my own:
If you don’t know how to yet, go watch a few YouTube videos on how to iron. No matter how you pack your clothes will get wrinkled.
Clerkship likely had you drinking a good deal of coffee. A smile makes a difference for first impressions, there is lots of time to get that smile shining again.
Comfortable dress shoes.
Don’t forget your charger(s).
Be patient. You are traveling Canada in the winter, your flight/train/ride may be delayed.
Review your CV, especially any items highlighted in your personal statements.
Be able to discuss any published research or other works.
Re-read your personal statements and details about each school before the interview.
Do a mini-autobiography to identify anecdotes, motivations, major life events/influences, etc. Who, what, when, where, how did it shape you?
Participate in interview prep with friends, peers, residents, etc.
Think of a few patients that moved you, that you connected with, a good outcome, a bad outcome. How did you react? What would you change?
Think of a conflict with peers or others, how did you handle it?
Review standard interview questions too and have examples for strengths, weaknesses, a time you failed, an accomplishment you are most proud of, etc.
In early October I attended my first conference as a resident. While most of my peers are planning on attending FMF or other Family Medicine related conferences in the future I chose to use my funding to attend The Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa from October 6-8. The program was impressive (link) and it was a great experience. I was also impressed with how well run the conference was, staying on schedule and not a single AV issue in the talks I attended.
I enjoyed hearing about the work others are doing in combining the arts and medicine. I attended workshops, lectures on educational efforts, readings and more. Many of the presentations led to insightful discussions that continued into coffee breaks. It was a great place to connect with other interested in the humanities and discuss ideas. I won’t review the whole conference, just a few highlights.
Phil Dwyer – Artful Grief
The first lecture I attended was by Phil. He spoke of his recently published book Conversations On Dying and blog that collected reflections about the death of loved ones. His book recounts the death of his brother along with a series of interviews with Dr. Larry Labrach (a palliative care physician in Toronto), contrasting their end of life experiences. It was a moving presentation and also presented some data collected about writing about loss. I also sat with him on the flight back to Canada, and we had a good conversation.
2. Ken Browne – Why Doctors Write
Ken presented a 20 minute cut of his unfinished documentary Why Doctors Write at the conference. It was very well received. It was divided into chapters including one of Dr. Danielle Ofri and her patient Jaun, arts in medical education, Internist and poet Dr. Rafael Campo, etc. A strong message and nicely shot. Ken was approachable and we had a great talk about medicine and the arts. I look forward to the film.
A lot of great conversations at the conference. At some of the workshops we shared work in small groups and it was wonderful to see what people came up with in 7 minutes following a prompt. I had a great chat and dinner with a PA and rural Family Doc from the conference and have enjoyed email correspondence with a number of attendees since the conference. The host also put together an app for the conference that made it easy to post to social media, share updates and connect.
Being that this is Aboot Medicine, two of the attendees had air casts on… talk a boot medicine (thanks Rita and Marjorie)
With CaRMS closing soon for CMGs I wanted to wish everyone luck. A few friends from the year below me have asked for some help editing and this reminded me of all the stresses of the application process. A few small things:
Make sure to attach all the documents each school wants. Some want up to 3 reference letters, some accept more. Little details matter, spend the time to upload everything required
Address the prompts for the personal statement
Some schools have different CV requirements, be aware
Attach a nice picture to your application. I took mine infront of a wooden door in a hotel during an elective
Make sure the picture is of you, not a meme
Have a friend or two read over your letters
Interested, but boring was the advice I was given. Don’t try to scare your reader
Soon it will be submitted, the interview invites will hopefully roll in and the next stage will begin.
The #justaFP project from the U of Manitoba Family Medicine Interest Group profiles family practitioners. It is an effort to combat negatives attitudes towards the specialty and choosing to be “just” a family doctor. I was recently profiled and spoke of my journey through medical school along with my choosing Family Medicine and reactions to that choice. Check it and other profiles out: “just” a family physician