Soon, our northern hemisphere will enter into Winter. The sun sets earlier and its warmth fades, sending trees, bears, and countless others into hibernation. In doing so, these creatures can recover from a year’s worth of wear and tear and rest in anticipation of Spring’s growth. As we too retreat indoors, we are also given a chance to look inward; an opportunity to reevaluate our relationship with others, with nature, and with ourself. Winter provides space to think about what has been left behind and what lays ahead. It gives us a chance to be more intentional about those we spend time with, and to witness those who choose to spend their time with us. Though this season may evoke feelings of loss and isolation, it is time spent alone which allows for reflection and growth. As we approach our annual chrysalis, may we put in the work necessary to emerge reborn.
The growth I’ve experienced since starting medical school is staggering. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed lately is my confidence. Entering into the medical profession is intimidating, to say the least. Like many others in my cohort, I struggled with imposter syndrome. Starting third year, I fell into the habit of introducing myself as “Just the medical student,” constantly apologizing for being in the way. Although there should always be a sense of humility in the way we show up to learn from others, I learned to show up for myself. I learned to ask the resident if I can throw that extra stitch when they are getting antsy and wanting to get on their way. I learned to bravely ask the attending the questions I’m ruminating on in my head. One of my recent lecturers said it perfectly, “Sometimes you gotta pull your education outta people.” Your learning experience is what you make of it; how important we are as medical students depends on us. Continue reading “Confessions of an M3”→
Everyone has a story, and each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Our Narrative series invites you to step inside someone else’s life by reading their story, as told in their own words. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage in one of the many stories that makes our community complete. The following is the narrative of Dr. QeeQee Gao, MD, founder of Med Intima, KUSOM alumna, and first-year psychiatry resident at UPenn.
It’s 6:45 a.m. I show up early to my shift to get reports and collect vitals on my patients before the interruption of breakfast trays and morning rounds.
The summarized information I carry with me as I approach room 209: “72-year-old woman, here for GI bleed. Colonoscopy expected tomorrow, night shift will start bowel prep. Rheumatoid arthritis. Encourage Q2 turns. 2x assist, gait belt/walker, requires assistive devices to eat. Dysphagia diet II. Q4 vitals. Uses bedside commode. Expected discharge in one day if scope is benign.”
And the undocumented background given by nightshift: “‘Mrs. RA’ is VERY particular during mealtimes. You MUST cut everything up and put her “squishy” handle on the silverware. Her straw must point to her, and the drink must be on the right side. She has failed getting through bowel prep twice—so be encouraging today. Also, she yelps a lot when you try to move her, she’ll want to refuse Q2 turns. Her daughters will come in a lot. She likes a lot of blankets. Let’s just say she’ll hit her call button a lot.”Continue reading “Choose Humanity”→
Each year, the national Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) celebrates and commemorates compassionate patient care during the GHHS Solidarity Week. This year the KU GHHS chapter asked its faculty, resident, and student members to reflect on what it means to be a physician –particularly what it means to be a compassionate, humanistic physician. We hope you can join us this week in celebration and reflection of your personal and professional journey, and how to continually strive for compassionate, kind, and gentle human-centered care.
A central aspect of Med Intima’s mission is to “celebrate the unique, intimate story of each individual.” More specifically, our editorial board hopes this can be a space for important conversation and discovery. To this end, we are featuring the voices and initiatives taking place at KUMC in pursuit of racial equality. Below, you will find educational resources, as well as short narratives highlighting how individuals and organizations are combatting systemic racism, sharing their stories, and improving medical education for Black students.
We hope that by engaging with this page of Med Intima, medical students will be better equipped to serve their communities as future physicians. Please note that this is far from a comprehensive list, and that we hope the resources and narratives we provide below can act as an introduction to a more open dialogue.
I laid my original white coat to rest at a beach in Auckland, New Zealand after my final day of an international clinical rotation. White coat disposal ceremonies are a tradition I must confess I have greatly anticipated. I had grown to resent that coat and what it meant. Its characteristic short length was an immediate signal to any healthcare professional in the hospital that I was a student – perhaps to some savvy patients as well. I frequently felt the weight of the “student” label while walking through the hospital. The real or imagined looks of patients, nurses, residents, and attendings that said I was a temporary time-waster at best and utterly incompetent at worst.
The night was young when the radio crackled to life. We couldn’t believe our luck. They told us the search and rescue missions wouldn’t start for another week, but here we had someone that couldn’t continue their hike. Eager to test our skills, we quickly gathered our supplies into the truck ambulance. When I look back on all my clinical experiences, the Philmont rotation outside of Cimarron, New Mexico, is certainly my favorite. Established in 1938 as Philturn Rocky Mountain Scout Camp, Philmont Scout Ranch has become a center for high adventure and training.1 For emergency medical technician students and medical students like me, this site offers a unique clinical training in wilderness and prehospital medicine high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies.1 Below the peaks in basecamp, the Philmont Infirmary is the central hub for this medical four-week sub-internship rotation, and it all began on my first night.
This post was adapted from the University of Washington School of Medicine: https://faculty.uwmedicine.org/55-word-stories/. Likewise, the instructions used to solicit these reflections were adapted from Sheetz, A and Fry, M The Stories, JAMA 2000 Vol 283(15)1934.
Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone, and strengthens our community. The authenticity, compassion, creativity, and bravery of our colleagues help us access our own emotions, and helps us carry on.