Dr. Purdy, the Brand Spanking New Intern

Yes, my shoes say Dr. Purdy. Obnoxious? Maybe a little. But still AWESOME

Well, I’m 2 months into residency and still going strong.

 

It’s hard to believe that only a few short months ago I was bouncing from one interview to another, stressing about the financial burden of residency application season, not seeing my man or dog, and about Match Day itself. Now, my little family and I are puttering around Cheyenne, Wyoming as I figure out life as a 1st year resident aka intern aka PGY1.

 

July was all about surviving Inpatient Medicine, a 6am to 6pm (and many times later) shift spent in the hospital managing a variety of complex medical issues. Although I’ve seen many common medical problems as a medical student, the circumstances change drastically when these patients become your responsibility. Everyone always mentions the steep learning curve from medical student to resident, but its impossible to express just how difficult this transition is without actually going through it yourself. Suddenly, I was placed in a position where I was accountable for someone else’s physical wellbeing. Instead of simply presenting a history of present illness to the team, now I was responsible for outlining (and defending!) my assessment and plan. To further escalate the stress, that assessment and plan had to be presented and approved by the attending physician of the day. Fortunately, I chose a wonderful, supportive program to spend the next few years surrounded by lovely faculty members who love to teach However, that doesn’t stop them from occasionally shredding my medical management plans to pieces and forcing me to rethink a strategy from scratch.

Wyoming’s cutest little cowboy

As a new resident doctor, you are now responsible for signing your own orders, including medications, procedures, and consults. I found myself questioning every single order I placed, regardless of how trivial. “Oh, this patient is requesting over the counter NSAIDS.. but WAIT, what if they have renal failure?!” “I should prescribe this patient Zofran for nausea.. but WAIT, didn’t I see QTc prolongation on their EKG?!” I’ve dug myself into a paranoid state of mind that my senior resident assures me is a smart approach to patient care. It may be the best approach to patient care, but it certainly doesn’t help my anxiety.

 

Not only am I responsible for placing medications, procedures, and consults, but I must also defend every order I place. One resident mentioned something during rounds to think about whenever you have a questionable modality of treatment. He told me to picture myself in a courtroom with a judge stating: “Dr. Purdy, we noticed you treated the patient with _____________ when they had __________ disorder and subsequently developed < insert devastating condition here >. Can you explain yourself?” It’s a terrifying mental checkpoint, but it works.

 

I started off with a nasty case of imposter syndrome. There were multiple situations I found myself thinking “Wow, that was stupid. How did you make it through medical school again?” Its surreal walking through a hospital with a long white coat and acting like you know what you’re doing, when in reality, you’re concerned that every thing you do will have consequences in patient outcome. Some days I feel like a hero, like when I spot someone in DKA or in Sepsis. Just as quickly, outcomes can change and I’m back to feeling like a complete moron for missing something so simple. The lovely group of interns I got to know so well during orientation are scattered throughout rotations. I see them in passing, each struggling in their own personal way with being a new resident. Soon, interview season 2020 will be here and I’ll be interviewing a new group of interns to follow in my footsteps. Now THAT is wild.

A little different of a view compared to NYC

Forgive me, I meant to take a more organized approach with these entries. Let’s get back on track.

 

Despite what many believe, interns aren’t “thrown to the wolves”, at least not at my residency program. Then again, maybe I got lucky. I’m surrounded by senior residents and faculty with a wealth of experience and knowledge that will catch me if (and when) I fall. My program director told us on the first day that being an intern is just keeping one foot in front of the other and trying not to trip. Ultimately, you will mess up, but the important thing is to learn and move on.

 

Residency has been physically and mentally demanding, but so, so rewarding. I finally have a job where I can leave at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Somehow, my personal life is still going strong. Brutie gets (almost) daily walks around the vast amounts of land occupying Wyoming, and Tylor seems to be adapting quite well to life as a cowboy. We just picked him up a pickup truck to ride around the “big city” with his furry copilot. Now all that’s missing are cowboy boots and a hat, which are wayyyyy more expensive than I thought they would be, by the way. We’ve decorated our house with warm and cozy colors and have an endless supply of throw blankets for our two (that’s right TWO) couches. What can I say, we’re adulting pretty hard over here.

Wyoming-approved decor

At the moment, I’m nearing the end of my emergency medicine rotation. I’ll try my best to keep you posted! Please, if you have any questions about intern year (especially if you’re considering family medicine) make sure to reach out to me!

How can you not smile at these happy doggos?

Smiles 🙂

Purdy

 

 

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SXM –> VT –> WY

In the immortal words of my new husband Tylor: It’s been a hot minute.

 

Yes, that’s right, I’ve married my long time love and I am officially Dr. Purdy. I even have a new social security card to prove it! But, let’s rewind for a moment so we can all process the last few weeks because WOW, a lot of stuff went down.

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Thanks for the memories SXM!

Flashback 3.5 weeks ago to Sint Maarten, when Tylor and I were desperately packing away the last of our belongings for our journey back to Vermont. As you can imagine, 6 pieces of luggage + 1 dog is very difficult for 2 people to handle, so our MamaBear Erika (now officially my mother in law) once again flew down to help us move. Of course, staying for free in the Caribbean isn’t such a bad gig, so it worked out well for the both of us. This last week was bittersweet for everyone. Sint Maarten will always be one of our homes, and Tylor and I constantly find ourselves yearning for island life. But although we loved living in paradise, we’re so grateful to match in an equally beautiful place that I know we’ll grow to love over the next 3 years.

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Driftwood with MamaBear

The island did not let us go easily, as if Sint Maarten was angry we were leaving her behind. Every day there was a friend to say goodbye to along with the realization that every place we were visiting would be our last time seeing it. The weather turned from blue skies and a light breeze to dark clouds and a wind chill. On our last day, we all decided to visit Mullet Bay, our go-to beach for countless sun, sand, and the place Tylor proposed the last time we left the island. It was so cold; I legitimately thought I would die of exposure. In fact, I’m pretty sure I screamed I would die as Erika forced Tylor and I into the water one last time. I wish I could say we finished the day off peacefully. God knows we were tired from the stress of the week and that cold water had zapped the last bit of energy out. But alas, Murphy’s Law was not so kind. We arrived home from Mullet Bay to a flooded apartment – about an inch of water on the floor and a very confused dog staring at us from his couch island. We had left earlier with a load of clothes running in the washing machine and the hose had come loose, dumping gallons of water all over the floor.

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Finally got the classic Maho Bay picture

Despite the initial water-soaked hiccup, the trip to Vermont went relatively smoothly. We arrived late Friday night, had a day of wedding preparation, and officially became Mr. and Mrs. Purdy Sunday, June 2nd, 2019.

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Our last St. Maarten sunset

The wedding was small, intimate, and perfect, and could not have been done without the help of our family. We had such little time between the international move and our wedding day that the planning was entirely in their hands, and boy did they come through. Tylor’s wedding vows were a little too heartfelt, and I couldn’t help but burst into tears as he made his way through them. Of course, I was not in the ideal emotional state when it came to my turn, but I was able to spurt the words out crying between every word. Brutie was naturally the best man and ring bearer and as he came down the aisle he sat in front of us and gave us a look as if to say: “It’s about time you guys”.

watching

Whatcha guys doing?

As the ceremony (and hundreds of pictures) came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for everything we had been given and everything that would come to be. Before starting this next huge chapter of our lives, Tylor and I were surrounded by everyone we love and those who love us. We had been accepted into the fold of each other’s families, and to have everyone there before we leave everything behind meant so much. It really was the perfect day and the best way to start our new life and say our goodbyes (for awhile).

kisses

The making of a Dr. Purdy

Then came Wyoming. The University of Wyoming offered a moving stipend, so Tylor and I reserved a 15-foot UHAUL and packed up our lives with tbe ol’ faithful Corolla hitched to the back. Because we had such a time crunch before my orientation started (and because Tylor would rather have his dog for company on a road trip than his new wife), I flew to Cheyenne and he drove FOR 3 DAYS STRAIGHT from Vermont to Wyoming. In case you were wondering, that is 1,795 miles and about 27 hours of driving. The things you do for love.

uhaul

All packed up and ready to go

For the last 4 years of medical school, we have moved 5-6 times, each time to a different country. As you can imagine, this forced us to live a minimalistic life. Almost every apartment we rented was furnished. The furniture/appliances we did buy were sold prior to every move. Now that I am in the US for the next 3 years, it was time to start buying our own things, and it feels SO nice. We picked up reasonably priced pieces of furniture by scouring craigslist and Facebook marketplace. Our new Wyoming home is tastefully decorated with warm colors and cozy quilts draped over all the couches. There are two carpets; one has bears all over it. Brutie has a large “donut” dog bed in the living room, a couple paces away from his custom-built toy box, filled with toys from his newly established BarkBox account. Our new place is finally starting to feel like home.

House

Our picturesque new Wyoming home 🙂

The past 3 weeks have been booked solid with orientation material. After learning the EMR, filing countless pages of paperwork, meetings, lectures, and new faces, I desperately want to begin. I hit the lottery with my program and my new colleagues/other newbies. Everyone has been so kind and helpful. As with every residency program across the country, we start July 1st, THIS MONDAY. What a crazy thing to think about! After this weekend, I will be working as a physician. My first rotation is family medicine inpatient – I’ll let you know how it goes (and if I survive). Fingers crossed, LET’S DO THIS.

residents

New Interns!

 

Smiles 🙂

Dr. Purdy, PGY1

 

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Yeehaw!

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Mullet Bay, we will miss you ❤

The residency interview season has passed, Match week has come and gone, and Tylor and I are working through our transition period into residency. In less than 2 months, we’ll be strutting out West in Wyoming’s capital, kicking tumbleweeds out of the way (hence the name of the title, I couldn’t help myself). Moving this time feels different. Honestly, Tylor and I have uprooted so many times (fun fact: each time to a different country) that we’re on a professional level. However, this time I’ll be working as a bloody RESIDENT PHYSICIAN and the stakes feel so much higher.

 

Tylor and I have officially signed a lease for a lovely, 2 bedroom, pet-friendly, brick house (with a yard!) within walking distance of the medical center. I can’t describe the amount of pressure that’s been lifted, but of course its been replaced with other things, like moving back to The States from St. Maarten, getting married, then driving a UHAUL cross country with a dog and cat in tow. The kicker you ask? It will all happen LESS than a week after our arrival in Vermont from St. Maarten. I’m sure my heart rate will lower once my little family and I settle into our new home, but for now I will suffer in the chaos and try to take things in stride like Tylor does.

 

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Karakter Beach Bar

It’s a strange feeling being simultaneously confident that you’ve earned this position, and scared shitless of the unknown. As a baby resident, I will now be responsible for my patients’ lives. The pressure of handling someone else’s wellbeing is terrifying, which is why it’s so important to have a strong support system, both in my personal life and my work life. The first step to finding a solid support system is actually during the residency interview season.

 

The most important piece of advice I can offer for residency interviews is to be genuine, and to look for genuine people. You’ll be working closely with your colleagues for YEARS through some hellish trials and tribulations. You’ll see the best and worst in people, and they will see those same qualities in you. Your fellow residents will be your family and it’s important to Match with the right people. During the interviews, you can ask all the questions you want. However, in the end, the feel you have for a program will guide your decision. Look for the general wellbeing of not only the residents, but the other medical professionals as well. Does everyone seem to get along with each other? Does the work environment feel supportive or toxic? Are they “hiding” their interns?

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Grand Case, SXM

As far as my personal life, I have everything I need traveling with me always, my man and my Brutes McGutes, and our incredible families supporting from afar. We’re leaving our beloved island May 31st for the last time. Come June 2nd, Tylor and I will be married in an intimate lakeside ceremony surrounded by those closest to us. Don’t worry, a tuxedo was purchased for our ring bearer, Brutes McGutes, and pictures will be taken. June 9th I fly to Wyoming, and Tylor leaves a day after with a UHAUL carrying all of our belongings and our 2 main furry squeezes. The poor guy will drive 30 hours from Vermont to Wyoming and I do not envy him.

 

Right now, it feels like we’re wrapping a chapter of our lives and beginning to write the next one. Things are beginning to fall into place for our new adventure. I’m both excited and anxious to start, with no idea how to prepare. At the moment, I’m trying to keep my brain active by studying for Step 3 and getting slaughtered, once again, by UWorld questions. I have a month to enjoy the home we’ve made on St. Maarten before leaving it behind forever – LETS DO THIS.

 

Smiles 🙂

CG

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Matching into Residency (2019)

stethescope

Perks of a pretty pink stethoscope

This post has been a long time coming, 8 years to be exact. Last week I matched into residency and will begin at my #1 ranked program, The University of Wyoming – Cheyenne in July. The whole experience is quite surreal, and I think I’m still in a sense of shock. Even though I officially Matched just a few days ago, I’m still in a haze and definitely having a hard time concentrating. Living on St. Maarten and working on the same campus where my journey as a medical student began adds to the surreality, but also just feels so right. It’s like I’ve come full circle or something. I’m surrounded by the same faculty members that were here when I was a medical student, and the new faces of students who are just as excited as I am about Matching. It’s very strange to be in an environment where the people surrounding you know that matching into residency is the end goal of medical school, and realize just how much of a sacrifice it is to get to this point.

 

I’ve had many questions about the residency application process from both family and current medical students, and I’ll do my best to answer them in this post (with the help of my trusty fellow Fellows of course – thanks Anthony, David, Deets, and Dom for your help!).

 

The residency application process will be the most stressful, but exciting time of your medical school career. During this time, you see just how much your hard work during all of those crazy medical school examinations and clinical rotations has paid off. I know how cliche this sounds, but hard work will bring interviews. Try not to fail any classes while you’re on the island. Honor your clinical rotations. Attend conferences in your specialty of interest. DO WELL (or at least average) ON THE STEP EXAMS. Of course, if you’re lacking in one of the things I mentioned, that is not the end of the world. Many people still match after failing courses or doing poorly on Step exams. Keep in mind you need to make up any deficiencies in other areas of your resume, and be ready to explain them during interviews.

 

Also, as a disclaimer, the residency interview season will be a process individualized to you. Everyone has a different experience with this, I’m simply sharing mine. Take every opinion (including mine) with a grain of salt and do your best to find your own way.

 

First, what is “The Match”?

 

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), aka “The Match” is a US based organization created in the 50s to place US medical school students and non-US international medical school students into residency training programs. This is important, because without a residency, you cannot practice as a medical doctor. The 2019 Main Residency Match was the largest on record, with 44,600 registered applicants and more than 35,000 positions offered. 

 

The application process for The Match begins prior to its opening date in September. If you are expecting to Match in 2019 for example, the application will open in September of 2018. However, your application materials should be prepared well beforehand. Applications are then sent to programs through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). After applications are sent to programs, they are reviewed and invitations are sent out to select candidates. The interviews are held between October and February. When the interview period ends, both programs and applicants create “rank order lists” or ROLs to submit to the NRMP at the end of February. http://www.nrmp.org/ These programs are ranked from most preferred to least preferred. Applicants can rank up to 20 programs before additional charges apply. The Match happens annually in March, where applicants find out if they matched on Monday at 11:00am and where they matched on Friday at 1:00pm. The more interviews and programs “ranked”, the higher your chances of matching into residency. Typically, successful applicants rank at least 10 programs.

 

Now, the trick is to figure out how many residency programs to apply to in order to maximize the amount of interviews offered. There are different categories of medical students: US medical student, US-International medical graduate (US-IMG), and Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG). The category you fall into will determine how many interview invites you can expect to receive. As a US-IMG, AUC advises applying to about 150-200 programs. US medical students apply to significantly less (40-50), and FMGs apply to more. Personally, I applied to 200 family medicine programs, received 23 invites, attended 17 interviews, and ranked 17 programs. Keep in mind that some programs are more IMG friendly than others. When applying, consider programs with a higher percentage of IMGs and reasonable Step scores, as well as programs with a history of taking students from your school. That information can be found on FREIDA.

 

IMGs can determine their competitiveness as an applicant by looking at the NRMP Matching data, which outlines success by using certain parameters like Step 1 and 2 scores. Linked is the NRMP data from 2018, but it is updated annually. 

As you can imagine, this process is time consuming and expensive. The application alone cost upwards of 5,000 dollars, not including travel expenses (hotel, rental car, food, etc).

 

*A couple notes for students participating in the 2020 Match and beyond:

  • The PTAL is no longer required to apply to California 
  • DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and MDs will merge into the same residency Match process.

 

Now, the actual interviews should not be underestimated. As an IMG, matching into residency is significantly more competitive compared to US medical students and every interview counts. Never consider an interview “practice”; all should be taken seriously as your future potential residency program. Preparation and practice is key. Google the most commonly asked interview questions (why did you apply here, what can you bring to the program other applicants cannot, strengths and weaknesses, behavioral scenarios) and start from there. Your answers should last approximately 2 minutes and relate to your success as a future resident and within their program. Try to stay positive and demonstrate how you learned from that experience. Every response will be analyzed as a character attribute (including clothing!)

 

The most important question is always asked first: “So, tell me about yourself?”

This should not be a chronological life story from birth to now. Make sure to keep the details simple and interesting. Tell your story in an energetic way and emphasize how this relates to your decision in becoming a physician and/or how it applies to this residency program. Start with your name and what you’re doing currently. Transition into how you got to that point. Finish with where you want to be (big city, rural practice, small community) and why this is important to you.

 

When the interview is over, ALWAYS have a question prepared. Do not ask any questions that can be found on the program’s website. These should be questions that help capture the essence of the program. When I first began my interview trek, I felt desperate to Match. However, as I journeyed further into interview season, I realized that the program is not just looking for the best applicant, YOU are looking for a program that is a good fit. Follow your intuition. Keep an eye out for any malignancies, red flags, or if the program “hides the interns”. When you find your number one, you’ll know it.

 

I hate to end on a sullen note, but the last aspect of The Match I should mention is the Supplemental Offer and Assistance Program, or SOAP (also known as “the scramble”). Although the majority of AUC medical students will match into residency, there are some who do not. Unmatched applicants must go through the SOAP to try and obtain an unfilled residency position. As mentioned before, on Match Day at 11:00am applicants know if they matched. An hour later, a list of unfilled residency programs is released. During SOAP, you are able to apply to 45 total ACGME-accredited programs starting at 12:00 pm Monday to 11:00 am the following Thursday. There are 3 rounds and some strategy to applying. SOAP participants will know Thursday whether or not they have Matched into a residency program. Unfortunately, SOAP is a stressful, dreadful, anxiety-invoking process that is particularly difficult for IMGs. Hopefully you will never experience it personally.

 

This whole process can be very complicated and worrisome, so I’m sure I’ve left out a couple details. If you have any questions, feel free to message me: crystal.golding@yahoo.com. If you’re currently an AUC student on the island, I encourage you to come by my office, Room 134. Medical school can be daunting and sometimes just speaking with someone who has been through it recently can keep you from feeling completely overwhelmed. Although I did not take the most conventional approach to becoming a physician, I was finally able to Match into my dream residency program and will begin as a practicing doctor in July. To all of those wonderful people who helped me along the way, you know who you are. Just in case you don’t, Tylor and I will find you and thank you personally very soon! For now, onto the next chapter. I hope you’re ready for us Wyoming!

 

Smiles 🙂 

CG

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I MATCHED

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I will never delete this email

After 8 years of preparation, 5 big moves, 3 USMLEs, 3 countries, (and 1 Brutes McGutes), I’VE FINALLY MATCHED.

I think I’m still in shock because the whole thing just happened about an hour ago and I don’t know what to say. Perhaps that is because of the celebratory homemade mango margarita Tylor just shoved in my hands coupled with the fact I’m a lightweight. BUT it happened. We did it.

This morning was the most anxiety inducing, nauseating, few hours I’ve ever gone through. I knew I couldn’t stay in the apartment, but it just so happens that living in the Caribbean offers many opportunities to venture outside. So, we wandered over to Karakter Beach Bar to soak in the sun and watch the waves wash onto the beach, all the while trying to remain unaware (unsuccessfully) of the countdown to 11:00am when The Match notification would be released.

When I walked into the WiFi of my apartment and saw the “Congratulations, you have Matched” email, I crumpled to the floor. Brutus, very confused but still wishing to assist drowned me in kisses as I tried not to pass out. It’s been a roller coaster ride of a morning, but good god am I relieved.

 

Tylor and I have so many people to thank for getting us to this point, and we will be speaking to you all individually soon!

Friday we find out where we’ll live for the next 3 years. I know I owe you some details about my residency application journey. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

 

Note Mar 6, 2019

Arches National Park, Utah

Smiles 🙂

CG

EDIT: I MATCHED INTO MY NUMBER 1 PROGRAM! University of Wyoming, here we come!!

Taken on the AUC campus, where it all began 🙂 

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

“Professionalism in Medicine” Panel Lecture Series

I recently had the pleasure to be a panelist for the Van Wormer Student Judiciary Committee at AUC. As current AUC students are aware, there are many, MANY questions involving clinical rotations, USMLE Step examinations, and residency applications, accompanied with some confusion about where to find the answers. Below are my questions and answers.

*As a side note, for all of you out there interested in matching into Surgery, Dr. Hernandez is an excellent resource. He can be contacted at ahernandez@aucmed.edu.

 

  1. Can you give an example of when you were in rotations and an alarming or ethical situation arose and how you decided to deal with it?

During my emergency medicine rotation, I had a very ambitious resident that did not quite respect my limitations as a student. There were multiple occasions where he pushed me into a situation or procedure for which I as not adequately trained. One good example were ABGs. I had only done them on mannequins previously while in medical school, and had practiced only a couple times on a live patient. I as not prepared to do them without supervision, because of the potential risk of harming the patient. The resident told me specifically to do an ABG on my own for a patient who had just been admitted. After doing so, I approached him and asked if there was a reason for this conflict and explained my perspective. He reflected for a moment and stated he was overworked and taking his stress out on medical students. We came to an agreement that while I was more than willing to learn and do procedures, until I felt comfortable on my own I would appreciate the supervision while doing so. He thankfully agreed and taught me how to do proper ABGs until I felt confident enough to do them on my own.

 

  1. What clinical sites did you choose to complete your rotations at? Do you recommend changing sites often or utilizing one main hospital?

I did my OBGYN and Surgery rotations at Epsom Hospital in the UK, about 30 minutes south of London. My fiancé, Tylor, came with me and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in England. In addition to learning an entirely different healthcare system, Tylor and I had the opportunity to travel around Europe at a relatively low cost. We never would have seen so many countries or experienced the unique cultures within them if I had chosen to complete all of my rotations in the US.

Afterwards, my remaining clinical rotations were completed in New York between 3 separate hospitals: Flushing Hospital, Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC), and Bronx-Lebanon Medical Center.

Here is what my schedule looked like:

Summary

Tylor and our dog Brutus (@brutesmcpoops if you’re interested in the best doggie instagram ever) were living with me during my clinical rotations. Because of this, I decided to stay in one location the entire time – Queens, NY. I attempted to place our apartment location in the middle of all 3 hospital sites, with a reasonable commute between all of them. It worked out alright, my only complaint was the commute to Bronx Lebanon. 2 Trains, 1 bus, and 1.5-2 hours later I could arrive to the hospital for a 6am shift. To NUMC was about 30-45 minutes (you’re going in the opposite direction of morning and evening traffic which is AMAZING), and about 15-20 minutes to Flushing.

 

  1. What do you think was the most attractive quality about a clinical site where you completed a rotation?

Whether or not the rotation made an effort to incorporate medical students, and how supportive nurses, residents, and attendings were of each other. The worst rotations were those who treated medical students as a nuisance. It was obvious we were there to hinder their work instead of learn from it. Lectures were always over our heads and there were large gaps of time where we couldn’t do anything,

A good support system is also what I’m looking for in a residency program right now. I don’t want to work in a toxic environment, where there is a constant internal struggle between nurses and doctors. Personally, I learned the most from the nursing staff and to see them mistreated fostered an environment of distrust.

 

  1. Did you feel that medical school wholly prepared you for clinicals? What do you think, if anything, would have improved your performance in clinical rotations?

To be honest, the main focus on the first two years of medical school are basic sciences. The majority of your time will be spent in preparation for the Step 1 exam. Once you begin clinical rotations as a 3rd year medical student, there is a distinct transition from the books to the hospital world. The best way to prepare for this is to keep in mind that everything you read about, whether the subject is microbiology, pathology, or physiology, MUST be applied to a patient in a clinical setting. Always visualize a patient presenting with these problems, and it will make the transition smoother. Also, do not learn these subjects “separately.” If you remember that everything is connected and the subjects you learned in basic sciences are intertwined together, you will build a strong differential diagnosis for any patient presentation.

 

  1. Did you feel like other medical students were respectful of you being an IMG? Did you ever feel being an IMG was a problem with a preceptor? Why or why not?

For me, the hospital sites I rotated in had strong representation from not only AUC students, but other Caribbean medical students as well. Because of this, we were united on that front. There were medical students from other schools (like NYCOM at NUMC for example), but for the most part, everyone was respectful of each other. Where you went to medical school came up occasionally in conversation, but confidence/competence as a medical student had a stronger impact.

 

  1. How do international core rotations look on a resume? Do you believe completing some of your core rotations in the UK was beneficial?

A lot of program directors weren’t aware that I completed my OBGYN and surgery rotations in the UK until I brought it up in an interview, but when it came up it became an interesting talking point. Because of that, I do believe completing some core rotations in the UK was beneficial. You have to remember that these programs are interviewing hundreds of applicants for a handful of positions. Now that you’ve made it past the Step cutoff scores and have been selected to interview, it’s up to you to pull out memorable details from your application that will help you stand out. It’s a good idea to have a list of 5 interesting talking points from your application that you always try to incorporate into the conversation. For me, my time in the UK was one of those talking points. A word of advice: schedule these rotations as early as possible. There are some factors involved with doing rotations in the UK, including taking time to move back to the US. Especially for the September class, you must stick to a strict schedule in order to match on time.

 

  1. How did you schedule your core rotations, or is that pre-selected at your clinical site?

The first rotation you schedule should not be something you’re interested in. That way, you can make a total fool of yourself during that rotation while you get used to the system and it won’t matter. I wasn’t interested in surgery or OBGYN at the time, so I scheduled those 2 first. From the UK, I scheduled the rest of my core rotations in New York. Keep in mind that you want a letter of recommendation from your specialty of choice before you submit your application for The Match on September 15th.

AUC’s Core Clerkship Guide: https://www.aucmed.edu/content/dam/dmi/www_aucmed_edu/PDFs/academics/OCSA-Core-Clerkship-Guide.pdf

Can be used to find programs of interest according to their geographical location. You submit a list of your top 4 program choices to your advisor at coordinators@aucmed.edu and a couple days later, they will send you an email with your updated schedule. For elective rotations, there is an elective request form that can be found on AUC’s website.

*Scheduling rotations must take place AFTER passing Step 1.

 

  1. Did you take any breaks in between your core and elective rotations?

I had a 2 week break in between my core and elective rotations. I would recommend scheduling a 2-4 week break before taking the USMLE Step 2 CK examination.

 

  1. What was your timeline after leaving the island?

Comp Exam: March 23rd, 2016

Left Island: April 19th, 2016

Step 1: June 20th, 2016. Score received July 13th

Arrived in Epsom, UK: September 12th for my first clinical rotation!

 

Smiles 🙂

CG

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The Residency Application Process

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“Freckles” at the AUC adoption fair

Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog post. I’ve just started the trek for residency interviews and wanted to write about my current job and what I’ve experienced in the meantime. Eventually, once I have completed my interview journey and submitted my rank order list, I’ll create a separate post and tell you all about what I’ve learned! Stay Tuned for: The Residency Application Trail coming to a blog post near you.

Also, so you’re not taken by surprise, there has been a name change! Tales of the Caribbean has been updated to the “AUC Survival Guide”. Credit goes to my lovely fiance, Tylor for finding a more relevant name 😉

As I’ve expressed before, the September class is faced with a time crunch when it comes to residency applications. USMLE examinations and core rotations (ideally including a family medicine rotation) should be completed before you submit your residency application in mid-September. For everyone matching in 2019, that means the deadline to take USMLE Step 2CS is July 14th 2018, and for Step 2 CK the date should be August 12th 2018. More information about the timeline and the 2019 match can be found in the AUC 2019 Match Handbook.

What clinical medical students will come to realize is that in order to make those USMLE deadlines, you must study and take Step during your rotations, in some cases (the majority of the September class) during core rotations. For example, in July and August I was in my Pediatrics core rotation. Because I am applying to family medicine, I realized I could not squeeze a family medicine elective in on time and obtain a letter of recommendation for my residency application. I did not feel adequately prepared for the Step 2 CK exam and did not want to rush into it without feeling comfortable. A combination of these factors ultimately led to my decision to match in 2019 instead of 2018.

Once that decision was made, now I could move onto freaking out about how to fill my time with something medicine-related. I heard about clinical “fellows” that could teach and do research through AUC while waiting for residency placement. More information about what the job entails can be found at the AUC Careers Page.

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Some “Fellows” and I (Dr. Dabrowski and Dr. Materum) before our 1st Breast Screening Event!

As an introduction to clinical medicine (ICM) fellow, you work with medical students and prepare them for what they’ll see in the clinical world. I’m involved in small groups where we discuss how to build a differential diagnosis, perform a physical exam, and collect a full patient history. Sometimes we learn about various topics/conditions they’ll encounter in the hospital, both common and uncommon. The ICM department holds multiple workshops throughout a semester, including intubation and venipuncture/IV placement. I was recently involved in a venipuncture workshop with my good friend and “fellow fellow” Dr. Hernandez. Obviously the most appropriate time to hold a workshop involving severed arms and blood was on Halloween – scary stuff. I probably should have dressed up.

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Venipuncture workshop with my buddy Dr. Hernandez!

 

In addition to teaching, the ICM fellows are also involved in research. Dr. Chobanyan, our director, placed me in charge of her breast abnormalities/cancer research project, where we’re assessing the prevalence of breast abnormalities in women on St. Maarten. It’s actually a really neat project, because guidelines and protocols do not exist for this population, and we hope our project will fix that problem. We’ve held 3 screening events so far; where the women of St. Maarten can be assessed for risk factors of breast cancer, receive an education component, and a clinical breast exam from Dr. Chobanyan. Once enough information is gathered, it will be sent to the Ministry of Health on St. Maarten to be properly documented, cataloged, and used in the future to build breast-screening protocols.

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Our 2nd Breast Screening Event with the Minister of Health, Mr. Emil Lee

All in all, it’s a neat position to have and so far my residency interviewers have expressed a lot of interest in it. However, building these differential diagnoses and teaching medical students is making me ITCH to start residency. I want to apply what I’ve learned to MY OWN PATIENTS darn it!

 

TIME TO GET SERIOUS ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, before applying for residency, there is some terminology you should be aware of. There are 2 matching services AUC students usually deal with: ERAS/NRMP/ACGME and CaRMS. My US friends will be dealing with ERAS, my Canadian friends with CaRMS. Personally, I’m a US citizen and obviously more familiar with ERAS, so that is what I’ll be talking about here.

 

ERAS: Electronic Residency Application Service

NRMP: National Resident Matching Program or THE MATCH

ECFMG: Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

 

As mentioned in the 2019 Residency Match Handbook from AUC (link above), you will need to:

  1. Research residency programs
  • FREIDA (https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/#/programs) is a fantastic way to start. You can sort programs by specialty and location. There is useful information for each program listed, including the percentage of IMGs accepted and minimum USMLE cutoff scores.
  • AUC Residency Match placements (https://www.aucmed.edu/about/residency-placements/2018-residency-placements.html) This is another good resource. You can see where other AUC graduates have matched in the past all the way from 2014. Additionally there is an excel sheet floating around somewhere with residency placements from AUC, St. George, and Ross over several years separated by specialty. Last time I checked it was on Facebook and will likely be updated with the match results from 2018 soon.
  • Basically, you can increase your chances of matching into residency by applying to programs that take a large percentage of IMGs, or programs that have accepted Caribbean grads in the past, especially from AUC. An important thing to remember with this process – NEVER apply to a program you don’t want to go to. Although it is important to match, you don’t want to be miserable the entire time. If you’re an average applicant with no red flags, you will have multiple interviews.

 

  1. Write a personal statement that can be modified for each residency program application
  • The personal statement must be specific to each specialty if you’re applying to more than one, like internal medicine and family medicine for example. However, the personal statement should also be tailored to the geographical location you want to match in. For example, residency programs in Hawaii require a personal statement that answers the question: Why Hawaii? Keep that in mind while you’re writing!

 

  1. Update your CV
  • There’s not much to say about this, except to be aware that interviewers can ask you ANYTHING off your resume dating back to the dawn of time. It would be best to review everything listed on your CV and be able to talk about each tidbit in detail.

 

  1. Request Letters of Recommendation (LORs) from your attendings, preceptors, program directors, and chairs.
  • Although title is important, it is always best to request a LOR from an attending who knows you well over someone with a distinguished title who will write a generic letter. My interviewers told me they rarely receive a bad letter of recommendation, but they do receive generic ones, and are constantly on the hunt of “key words” that indicate a subpar performance in clinical rotations. Do not ask for a LOR unless you have a good relationship with that person. How I usually approached a potential writer was with the question: Do you feel you can write me a strong letter of recommendation? This gives them an opportunity to say “no”. If they hesitate, walk away!
  • The LOR writers must submit their letters to ERAS themselves. Once you register with ERAS and receive your token, you can email them a copy of instructions on how to submit their letter using your provided token number. These take the longest amount of time and unfortunately, its out of your control. The only thing you can do to accelerate the process is to remind them of when your letter is actually due. I usually sent an annoyance email out to my letter writers every couple weeks. They were all submitted early/on time.

 

  1. Register with ECFMG (upload information, including photo to OASIS)
  • From the ECFMG Website, go to “Online Services” then “OASIS – Online applicant status and information system.” Here you can upload basic information including your residency photograph and transmit all information into ERAS. Once everything is loaded into ERAS you won’t be using this much. I took my residency picture with JCPenney. They almost always have a deal happening.

 

  1. Apply to ERAS
  • A token must be purchased through ECFMG. You use this token in the MyERAS Once you’ve registered, go through and submit your supporting documents (application, letters of recommendation, programs applying to). This site will be the most frequented site in your history. Programs usually communicate with you, (i.e. send you interview invitations!) through the MyERAS messaging inbox.

 

  1. Register for NRMP
  • This usually opens September 15th. After you register and receive your number, you must go back into your ERAS application and update it.

 

  1. Submit Transcript and Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) requests to AUC

There is a link for both the transcript and MSPE request on AUC’s website, under OSPD forms and resources. The deadline to request these is September 10th and September 16th respectively. The MSPE letter is a document outlining every piece of feedback you’ve received from your clinical rotations. Initially, on September 15th your application will be submitted from ERAS to every program you’ve selected without your MSPE letter. Many programs wait until your MSPE letter is released by AUC on October 1st before sending you an interview invitation. MAKE SURE TO REVIEW your MSPE letter for any inaccurate information. Errors do happen, but the school does give you an opportunity to review before they send it.

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My stunning mutt Brutus in all his glory at Mullet Bay Beach

 

As of now, that’s really all I can tell you about the application process. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them and I’ll answer as quickly as I can. The further I progress into the residency application cycle, the more information I’ll be able to provide for you. I know it sounds like a complicated process, and you’ll always feel like you’re missing something, but once you make an account with ECFMG and ERAS you will see exactly which documents you need. In addition, a basic schedule outlining when to take each USMLE examination and when to submit all other documentation is outlined in the AUC 2019 Match Handbook. I referenced this sucker all the time. In the end, YOU GOT THIS. Work hard, impress everyone, and do well on Step. Interviews will come.

 

Smiles,

CG

 

 

 

 

 

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An Island In Recovery

Today marks the 1 year anniversary since Hurricane Irma ravaged the little island of St. Maarten. I’ve taken some progress pics of St. Maarten during my brief time here so far, and there are many more to come. For now, here is Cupecoy, Porto Cupecoy, Philipsburg, Maho, and Marigot.

 

 

Smiles 🙂

CG

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Call me Golding, Dr. Golding

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It’s official!

 

Well, I’ve officially finished medical school. I’ve been thinking about what I could possibly write to mark the end of this crazy train, and then I thought, I’ll just write about everything! What follows will be my most significant summarized chapters from start to finish of the insane, stressful, rewarding journey of being a medical student at the American University of the Caribbean SOM.

 

Pre Island Jitters

Before Tylor and I began this grand adventure, we were living together in our first apartment in Manchester Center, Vermont. I had graduated from Castleton University over a year ago with a Bachelor of Science degree and was working as an Emergency Department Scribe, gaining experience for my next pursuit: medical school. I had filled out all of the applications, taken the MCAT, and received rejection letters from everywhere I applied to, except for AUC and SGU.

Obviously I knew about the stigmas associated with Caribbean medical schools, and a lot of research went into my decision. I found that AUC was one of the “top 4” Caribbean medical schools to attend. All have impressive residency attainment rates, and because of student success, federal loans are available. AUC’s residency match rate fluctuates between 80-90 percent. I knew with those odds, I could push myself to achieve my dream of becoming a physician. Of course, my opinion might change if I don’t actually match into a residency, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, AUC and SGU had both offered interviews, but because AUC offered smaller class sizes and I preferred St. Maarten’s living conditions vs. Grenada, I chose AUC. Living conditions may seem like a trivial thing to a lot of people, but where I studied medicine for the next two years had a huge influence on me. I wanted paradise, and St. Maarten was ultimately the perfect choice. After a brief interview in NYC and an acceptance letter 2 weeks later, Tylor and I prepared to leave behind everything and everyone we had come to know and love to move to a foreign country.

 

Arriving to St. Maarten

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I do NOT like change. I prefer a strict daily and longitudinal schedule, and variation from that schedule creates anxiety. Well, lets just say leaving the state I was raised in and moving to a foreign country with a different climate and culture was not exactly my cup of tea. Tylor, on the other hand, is always up for adventure. Granted he had some hesitation leaving Vermont, but after a few Google searches of St. Maarten he threw himself whole-heartedly into an “early retirement plan”.

When we first arrived, I was convinced we made a mistake. I walked out of the airport and was hit with a wave of humidity (something I would grow to love by the way) and the hustle and bustle of local taxi drivers. Like shark drawn to chum, they were frantic to stuff as many tourists into their mini-vans as possible before the next flight arrived. As a result, the drive to our new apartment in Arbor Estates was NOT smooth. The mantra from Dodgeball comes to mind – Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge – an entirely accurate statement considering I almost threw up in the backseat. Finally, green in the face and accompanied by an unsympathetic Tylor laughing hysterically, we arrived to our new Caribbean home for the next 2 years.

Arbor Estates is a gated community about 3-4 minutes walking distance from AUC. We paid $1250 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. Looking back, I probably would not have rented an apartment on the ground floor, because mosquitoes were a huge issue. Every time you opened the door, a swarm hovering nearby would be swept into the apartment by the draft and proceed to keep you up at night sucking sweetly off your blood. They didn’t like Tylor much, but hot damn did they like me. I tried everything from spraying myself with Off! multiple times per night to duct-taping probable holes in the screen door, to buying an indoor mosquito device that drew them in using UV light. Nothing worked. Would not recommend. Other than the mosquitos, Arbor Estates was a decent place to be. It was close to the school and Mullet Beach and that was all I needed. A tall gate surrounded the entire community and there was a security guard present 24/7.

 

Medical School

Once medical school classes started, there wasn’t much time to get used to my new surroundings. I soon found myself fully immersed in material and trying not to drown. The first month of medical school was basically figuring out whether I was cut out for this gig. I walked in with so much confidence and was immediately torn down. I studied my butt off, and after the first round of examinations, I knew I had a chance to excel.

Here’s the general outline of courses for Semesters 1-5

1st Semester

  • Anatomy
    • Anatomy Lab
  • Molecular Cell Biology I
  • Histology

2nd Semester

  • Molecular Cell Biology II
  • Physiology I
  • Immunology
  • Biostatistics

3rd Semester

  • Physiology II
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology I

4th Semester

  • Pathology II
  • Neurology
  • Pharmacology

5th Semester

  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine
  • Behavioral Sciences

 

Each semester had trials and tribulations. Whether a student found a class easier or harder was entirely up to personal preference. Everyone seemed to struggle with different material. The important part was finding the perseverance to keep pushing even after a subpar grade. As Tylor can attest, I had a few meltdowns. My lowest test score was a 52% in physiology II. I couldn’t believe it. I went home, turned on my shower, and curled up in a fetal position in the tub, convincing myself beyond all reasonable doubt that I would fail. Tylor joined me and comforted me for several minutes telling me everything would be ok. I didn’t believe him at the time, but after working my booty off and focusing on my weak areas in Physiology, I walked away from that class with an 80%.

I definitely wasn’t the smartest student there, and it was incredibly frustrating to study so hard for the block exams while others put in a fraction of the time and aced every test. You must learn early to let go of the habit of comparing yourself to others; it’s not good for your mental wellbeing. There will always be someone who will academically out-perform you in medical school, that’s just the nature of the beast. After all was said and done, I ended up with an 84%, placing me somewhere in the top 1/3 of the class.

5th semester is a relatively light schedule because of all the time necessary to prepare for the comprehensive or “comp” exam. Students must pass AUC’s comprehensive exam with at least a 69% (when I was there) to take the USMLE Step 1 exam. The comp exam is through Becker, where the questions are notoriously more difficult than those on the Step 1 exam. If you don’t pass the comp exam, students must take a pathology and a physiology examination, and pass both. If you do not pass pathology and physiology, AUC sends you to a Step 1 review course in Texas to prepare you adequately for Step 1. Luckily for me, I passed comp on the first attempt and had 3 weeks to explore and enjoy the island.

 

Extracurricular activities

There are many wonderful activities to do on St. Maarten when you come across some rare but precious downtime.

First of all, the area is loaded with restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. For such a small island, it really does have some good food. If you’re in the mood for something, more than likely you’ll be able to find it. Close to campus is Barcode, a popular and convenient place for students to have a sit down meal. BBs is also a very popular and cheaper option, especially if you’re trying to just pick up food and go back to studying. Now that I’ve returned to the island, many more restaurants have sprung up around campus. I have my work cut out for me!

Tylor basically became a beach bum while we were there, complete with growing his curly hair down to his shoulders. He spent his days lounging on the beach working on his nonexistent tan, swimming, and eventually spearfishing. Be careful though! Larger tropical fish bio-accumulate ciguatoxins, which can result in Ciguatera fish poisoning when consumed. Ciguatera fish poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and is often followed by some neurological issues as well. Not a very fun thing to have, which is why I just flat out refused Tylor’s catch of the day, much to his dismay.

It was a sad day when we left, especially after spending 3 weeks with no medical school classes, just roaming and exploring our island together. There was so much that I hadn’t seen, and still after all of our adventures I missed so much more. But, life goes on and it was time to begin learning about the clinical aspect of medical school. Thus, we planned the next chapter of our lives in England.

 

Clinical Rotations

The United Kingdom

 I decided to do my OBGYN and Surgery clinical rotations in Epsom, UK because:

  1. I wanted exposure to another healthcare system
  2. I knew I wasn’t applying to OBGYN or surgery, so doing those rotations in the US wasn’t necessary
  3. The UK has a ton of hands on experience for medical students compared to the US, and I wanted to involved as much as possible!

 

Tylor and I found a cozy place in Epsom Downs, UK. It was a 10-minute bus ride to the hospital, or if you’re up for it, a 10-minute bike ride down a beautiful little trail. Epsom hospital was quaint and old, like everything else in England, but I had a great experience there.

The rotations themselves were pretty relaxed. You were responsible for your own learning, which I believe is how it should be. No one was there to document your attendance and you weren’t expected to adhere to a strict schedule.

At the beginning of my OBGYN rotation, I was given a handbook with the entire schedule for the month. I was able to pick and choose which events I wanted to attend, and tailor my schedule according to my interests. Turns out, I’m a huge fan of C-sections, and because they are scheduled, it was easier to plan my attendance compared to a spontaneous vaginal delivery. During the C-sections, the residents and attendings allowed me to scrub in and actively participate. They were great teachers and big fans of “pimping” the medical students. I learned and did a ton during my time there. I have no interest whatsoever in Surgery, so my time in that rotation seemed to drag on. I did see many interesting cases, but those were LONG days of just standing there observing.

Living in the UK for 6 months provided Tylor and I the opportunity to travel anywhere for cheap. Tylor visited about 15 countries while he was there. London is a fantastic (and cheap!) hub for travel. Ryanair often had flights for 30 dollars, and with hostels to stay in we barely spent anything while traveling. We spent about 1500 dollars total during a 15 day trip to Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona and it was one of the greatest adventures of my life.

 

New York

With a fiancé and dog in tow, I decided to settle down in Queens, NY at Moda Apartments with reasonable access to 3 different hospitals: Bronx Lebanon, NUMC, and Flushing. This way we could sign a 1-year lease at a pet-friendly apartment (so difficult to find in NYC!) and have some measure of consistency for a while. Now that Tylor was able to work, he found a great job serving tables at District Social in Manhattan. With a little more financial security we were finally able to enjoy ourselves a little more and ease up on the penny pushing.

Although only 15 miles from Bronx Lebanon hospital, it took me nearly 2 hours to get there in the morning for a 6am shift. The commute definitely had a negative impact on how I viewed the rotation, but overall, it was a rewarding experience and further reinforced my interest in Family Medicine. The surrounding community is very diverse and many of their patients do not have access to health insurance. The family medicine team didn’t turn anyone away because of lack of insurance, so I saw a variety of ailments during my time in both an inpatient and outpatient setting.

The majority of my rotations were spent at NUMC, including psychiatry, pediatrics, developmental pediatrics, emergency medicine, infectious disease, rheumatology, internal medicine sub-internship, and radiology. I love the hospital, the surrounding area, and the staff. With each rotation, I learned something vital that shaped my perspective as a medical student. I became competent in many procedures during emergency medicine. My knowledge in pharmacology was reinforced (and reinforced again) during infectious disease. I gained a firm understanding of autism and ADHD in children during developmental pediatrics.

My last rotation was Radiology (I saved the best for last!) and on my last day it was very surreal walking out of the hospital completely finished with everything. I had completed 2 years of basic sciences on St. Maarten, taken Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS USMLE examinations, and finished 2 years of clinical rotations spanning over the UK and the US. Now all that’s left is to apply for residency and wait the day I match into my future program.

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Last day in our New York apartment! Brutie looks so confused.

Preparing for Residency

 At the moment I’m preparing my residency application through ERAS and waiting for the interview season to begin. I’m applying to family medicine programs mainly because I’m in love with all fields of medicine and I simply can’t choose just one! I’m a big procedure person and particularly like OBGYN and Emergency Medicine, so I’m looking for programs with an emphasis in those fields. Also, any programs with Global Health electives are a plus, because the majority of my family is still in the Philippines and it would be great to set up a healthcare outreach program.

August 1st – 4th was the Annual Family Medicine Conference hosted by AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) in Kansas City, Missouri. I presented my case report there and spent many hours in the EXPO hall, where almost 400 family medicine residency programs complete with program directors and current residents were in attendance. It was a great place to network with potential residency programs, but make sure to come with a game plan! Otherwise, the whole experience can be very overwhelming.

In the meantime, I’m back in St. Maarten all set to work as an introduction to clinical medicine (ICM) fellow during interview season. It’s a pretty sweet gig and Tylor and I were both anxious to get back to island life. I wanted to do something productive with the 10 months I have until residency begins, and the Caribbean is the perfect place to spend them. It’s a great opportunity for both teaching and research, and the program is flexible enough to let me travel for interviews. AUC provides fellows with a 1-bedroom apartment as part of the contract, and Tylor and I have been living it up in Jordan Village for the last 3 weeks. Once I start I’ll be able to explain what I’m actually doing a little better, so stay tuned!

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Our new home in St. Maarten!

 

Smiles 🙂

CG

 

Categories: AUC Clinical Sciences, Residency, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AAFP National Conference

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August 1st -4th was the annual American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference in Kansas City, MO. During my infectious disease rotation at NUMC, I encountered a couple patients with multiple necrotic ulcers secondary to Krokodil use. They consented to be a part of my case report, and fortunately that case report was one of the few presented at the AAFP conference this year.

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In addition to the many workshops and procedural skills courses, the AAFP national conference played host to about 400 different residency programs! Within a huge EXPO hall were rows and rows of booths lined with residency programs from all 50 states. It was truly an amazing opportunity for medical students to interact with program directors and residents from potential residency programs.

Honestly, if you’re planning to attend this beast of an event, come up with a game plan ahead of time! It will be overwhelming if you don’t. My best advice would be to have a list of residency programs where AUC students have matched in the past, and line them up with the programs present. It is impossible to visit every booth. You’ll be able to find a list of all programs in attendance before you leave, or through the AAFP Events Mobile App (https://www.aafp.org/events/national-conference/about/app.html).

This is an excellent opportunity for networking, and if you have ANY interest in family medicine, it’s a must-see event. You’ll never again get a chance to talk with so many programs under one roof, and you meet some really neat people along the way. When you stop at a booth, the programs will “scan” your badge and be able to see that you were interested in their residency come application time, so you’ll already have your foot in the door!

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Smiles 🙂

CG

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