Confessions of a Med Student- Part V

After much delay this is the final Grenada installment of my confessions series. The following post is all about Term 5.  Follow these links for previous terms: 1st2nd3rd4th

The schedule: Pathophys, BSCE (Basic Science Comprehensive Exam Review), Pharm, Clinical Skills, oh and don't forget to self study for Step 1!

Lectures are in the afternoon which I liked much less than morning lectures. Because I went to class most of the time I felt like I never really had a chance to study until after dinner which is a bit late to start (think back to first term, yikes!) and what this meant for me was that I had a lot to cover on the weekends and that I rarely went out during the week. I found that 5th term was just a busy as 4th but that might have only been my class going perception.

Mornings are consumed with small groups and clinical rotations. One day of the week you go to the Hospital for Clinical Skills and mini-rotate through the different wards. In theory you get to see a variety of patients and practices but really the point of this is not to learn about pediatrics vs OB/GYN vs Family Med (that's what 3rd year is for!) but to practice taking histories and doing physical exams. As long as you don't expect that you will be suturing in surgery or actually doing anything of importance this can be a fun morning to hone your skills and meet a variety of Grenadian docs. I enjoyed being about to see the difference between the hospital, private practice and clinics. It was educational on many levels. Grenada does not have the resources of a well developed country and so the type of medicine practiced did not always reflect the US style health-care system but there are fundamental similarities and for the most part the teaching was good and the patients more than willing to assist as themselves.

There is a small group for everything! Pharm, Clinical Skills and Pathophys all include a morning session and depending upon the tutor/Prof/subject they ranged from helpful group learning experiences to a total waste of time. In theory these were great but in reality it was lots of busy work preparing for the sessions and then attending, etc. And because these were in the morning I tended to not get a lot done beforehand or during the lunch break. I think it is because of the schedule that so many students stop going to class. Small groups + mid-day break/lunch + class = day over and no studying accomplished. If I could have stomached sonicing I would have but alas I had to stick out the lecture hall. Hence my lack of life outside of 5th term. But I guess it is medical school after all...

Class in and of itself was okay. The pharm department is well run (I heart Dr. Dasso) and lectures are as exciting as pharm can be I would guess. Basically it was biochem on drugs. I hated biochem and found pharm to be a fair amount of work and a ton to memorize but I somehow survived. Small groups were a bit tedious for my liking but overall I think SGU pharm prepares you well for Step 1.

Pathophys is taught in conjunction with BSCE and is basically a huge review course: Pathophys is a subtle repeat of Path minus the morphology and BSCE is a review of everything else (anat, biochem, histo, physio, etc). I annotated into First Aid and started doing questions in prep for Step 1 as part of the class studying because at this point it all becomes one and the same. Which is not to say that prepping for BSCE or spending Friday afternoons in Taylor are enjoyable but if you use your time wisely the work you put into BSCE can be helpful come Step 1.

I already wrote about Clinical Skills. And actually I thought these small groups were some of the best. Each week a different system is assigned and the tutor takes you through a case and review which as a group you use to review the system and arrive a diagnosis. (Bonus- minimal prep needed besides reading through that section of First Aid and the class notes.)

All in all, 5th term is like your senior year of anything else. It is physically hard to be in Grenada and you just want to go Study for Step 1 and be done with basic sciences already. But the classes are okay and the material matters so you just do it. And then before know now it, you are packing your suitcases and shipping your things home. Grenada is over and two years of your life never felt so difficult, rewarding, simultaneously long and fly-by quick. Then you take a break (optional) and prepare for an exam that will test your past two years and determine your future. So yeah, that is 5th term in a nutshell. I hope this has shed some light on the final term of basic sciences. I do not yet miss lecture, but I do sometimes miss Grenada. Enjoy it while you can.


Time's Up!

So the torture is over. I have officially been notified that I will start rotations in California at my first choice spot. I still won't get to live in the same city as Dr. Boyfriend but we'll settle for the same state and time zone.

I can't believe it. In just two weeks from today I will be starting my third year rotations with surgery. Which means I need to do some serious anatomy brushing up before then. And find an apartment. Buy a car. Pack and move. Little things really...


tick tock

I'm back in NY and staying at my mother-in-laws. Last night I could not sleep. Maybe it was the jetlag or sofa bed mattress but as I tried to count sheep I could only hear the tick tock of the wall clocks. I ended up taking them down and stuffing them into a closet but even the perfect silence couldn't lull me to sleep.

A few of my classmates have received their clinical placements but I am still waiting. I have few bad things to say about SGU (I am more than thankful for the opportunity and I do believe the school does a decent job educating us) but I guess the sheer number of students overwhelms the Clin Ed office plus when it come to communicating with us and administrative issue SGU leaves a bit to be desired. But it is what it is, I'm just going to whine about it.

So, in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep I started composing a few blog entries in my head. Why is it that it seems so easy to be eloquent at 2am in the morning. In the light of day the ideas are like dreams, the concept is remembered but the grandeur is missing.

Anyhow. I never finished my Confessions series and I need to do that before I completely forgot what it was like to be in Grenada and all that was 5th term. And I do want to post on my Step 1 strategy for those of you wondering. I promise I am working on them. Maybe I'll get around to posting both before I find out where and when I start third year. That seems reasonable/likely.


The Waiting Game

Disclaimer: Whiny post ahead. Since I have nothing of substance to blog about I'm whining. Feel free to skip this one and come back another time.

Waiting is so hard. The agony. I really thought that once I had my passing Step 1 score I would be assigned a clinical site. Previous correspondence from Clin Ed had been received to confirm that I could start in early May in California, which I would LOVE to do and I replied accordingly. Yet May is now less than a month away and it would be nice to know WHERE I am going so I can find an apt, buy a car, etc. Little things I know. Yet despite many emails and inquiries Clin Ed will only tell me that they have not yet begun placing students in California. No timeline, no promises. They are masters of being vague.
Me: "Is Arrowhead  (a hospital in Colton, CA) an option?"
Clin Ed: "We will note your preference to be placed in Arrowhead and if it is an option you will be considered for a spot there."

Great, thanks! For nothing. (Sigh.) Previous terms have been given a prelim placement spots but I guess it was problematic so they changed they system this year and we are not given a chance to appeal our placements.  We were able to request an area, at least in theory. They assign us, we go. I can live with that but I did think I'd know by now. On the bright side I leave for NYC in just three days. One final vacation before third year starts, whenever that may be...