Saturday, March 18, 2017

MATCH DAY SUCCESS!!!

                                                #AUCMatchMadness

What a surreal week it's been! 

I found out on Monday-March 13, 2017 that I Matched!!! Woooohoooooo!!!!

Then on Friday I learned where I was headed...I'm going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! I Matched in Family Medicine at my #1 Choice!  I couldn't be happier!  I applied to a bunch of places and interviewed at quite a few.  I met some really nice people along the way.  The programs were all very good and I would have been satisfied with Matching at any of the places I interviewed.  Honestly!!  I can fit in just about anywhere as long as the situation isn't totally toxic.  I get along well with others. And I'm no stranger to working hard.  

There was just something extra special about this program that resonated so strongly with me.  Actually a few things: a huge focus on community outreach and engagement, Residents can tailor their learning to what they want to do in the future, and they support Global Health electives.  Win-win-win for me.  I'm thrilled I matched with them and I'm looking forward to starting the next phase my career there!

But before all that, I have one week left of school :|

I have a post planned on a few strategies I found helpful when preparing my ERAS application, applying, and interviewing, so check back soon if you're preparing for the 2018 Match Season which opens up in just a few more months!

Thanks for all the support and well wishes. Until next time....


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5th Semester questions about Clinical Rotations in the UK???

Hi!  

A friend of mine, Dr. C (DOCTOR!!!! ahhhhh, I'm so excited) is working as a Clinical Fellow at AUC this semester.  He asked if I could answer a few questions from some of his 5th semester students about my UK clinical experience.  This was a super informal discussion but they said it would be ok for me to share the info in case their questions or our answers can help another student decide if the UK may be right for them!  

The conversation took place over a group chat...

Dr. C: Hey ParadiseMed, I have a few students that are interested in going to England for Core rotations. I talked to them about my experience at Ealing and I would really appreciate it if you share and/or answer any questions they might have about Romford.

ParadiseMed: I thought doing cores in the U.K. was a great experience. I don't think it took away from learning or opportunities compared to US students. We got lots of hands on experience and going over there has in fact been a welcomed talking point during residency interviews.

Students: The Romford Site is back and will be seeing their first round of AUC students soon. We are current 5ths and are looking to start clinicals in September. There is a little difference with Romford now tho...they have "buddy paired" with a psych hospital in Baltimore (Spring Grove) since they do not have their own psych rotations.

I would like to know what you thought of the Romford rotation (hospital, staff, your schedule/experience) as well as the overall area of Romford for housing and such. I'm married and my spouse will be joining me for a long as possible (most likely 6 months with the current visas)


ParadiseMed: I thought the site was good. Huge hospital. Lots of opportunities to participate in things. U would likely be at Queens (aka "Romford) and King George's hospital (we did Medicine there). They have every department and tons of patients. The Consultants (Attendings) are great. The working environment is great. The junior docs are very nice. And ppl are willing to teach you.

I didn't live in the hospital affiliated housing bc the lady never returned any of my inquiries. I found a house share abt 1 mile or so away from the hospital not too far from Romford town center. I'm using that "town center" term very loosely. I found housing on spareroom.co.uk

The Romford site is abt 30min outside of Central London. Transportation is easy. Life was pretty good over there. One caveat is you really have to be a self starter. No one will really hand you anything or have some of the types of expectations as in the US. But they will work with you when they see you're interested and engaged. You can see/do whatever you're interested in. You wouldn't really be limited by more than ur enthusiasm. 
I had a great experience and I recommend it for the right types of ppl.
It can get lonely being away from home and family. But you will also meet lots of ppl and make new friends from everywhere. You also get the experience of living in yet another country. Not sure how the visa thing will work for your spouse...I know some things were changing recently with that so look into it before you commit.


Students: It sounds like being forward and showing initiative is needed for most the rotations in the U.K.. I've had that explained to me from people at other sites too.

What's the cost of living? Rent, bills, food, etc? 

It seems like even in the UK, students are rotating within different hospitals, is that right?

Any other "cons" jump out at you, besides the "self starter" aspect?

ParadiseMed: Yes...there are like 6 different sites (maybe more)

Cost of living there is pretty pricey! Almost like SXM prices when it comes to rent for sure. No one usually lives on their own bc it's so expensive. House shares are the norm not the exception. The hospital housing may be a little less expensive. But imagine dorm living...again...dorm furniture, decor, everything. I walked in (while visiting a friend) and thought I was back in my college dorm building.

Food can be found affordably depending on if ur cooking or eating out. It's not as bad. U also have to factor in the exchange rate to see how far your $$$ will get you with ££

If you budget you can survive with no prob. If you don't, u will run out of money lol. If you travel, u will run out of money even faster! But it was all worth it😃😃

Students: The spare room site you gave us...did you run into any issues with that? Do people on sites like that make you sign a certain lease? I'm just thinking ahead since we are only there for like 9 months-ish

ParadiseMeD: Some want a 6mo/1yr lease. Others will do month-month. If u explain ur situation they are willing to work with you. I "toured" my place via skype and then paid a deposit.  

I'd have to think of other "cons" but none jump out at me right now.

Students: Any other sites popular for housing?

ParadiseMed: That's all I used. They have more than 1 million rooms available. Granted, they are in all different parts of the country so depending on the site u choose, you should be able to find a room if u don't use the hospital/Ealing sponsored housing.


Dr. C: I have told them as well, it was a great experience. You have to show initiative and you will enjoy your rotation. You are part of the team and they will welcome you with open arms. At Ealing, one of the cons was that we have paper charts but you will get enough education. Most of the service was closing at Ealing so I finished the rest of my rotation at Northwick park, which was about 20 min away...and like ParadiseMed said, it is a great topic of discussion when you are on the interview trail. I can say for sure that I have talked about England during all my interviews, like all of them.

ParadiseMed: We had paper charts as well at King George's and Queens.

Students: I'm sold on the U.K., now it's just figuring out our preferred locations. Not sure how it was for you, but for Romford's schedule there are no breaks. You just plow right through all your rotations. I'm completely fine with that since we are September class and our rotation times are "crunched" to say the least lol

Dr C: Even at Ealing, the longest break I had was 2 weeks

ParadiseMed: Yeah, no real breaks.
If u want to try to match in 2019??? U will have to be on top of everything. You won't have time to take off to study for comp or Step 2 CK or CS. If ur a person who requires that extra time, think about that before deciding. Entering that years match will also depend on how long you take off to study for Step 1. Just think about all of those things. If u find u can't make the match the year u want, u can extend ur rotations and apply the following year. It's much more important to do well on your exams than to rush to enter the Match.
Seems crazy to have to think abt Step 2 before even taking Step 1 but u have to keep everything on ur radar.

Students: Our COMP is in 29 days.

ParadiseMed: STUDYYYYYYY!! So u can enjoy the last month on the island!!!

Good luck on the Comp everyone!!!



That's it for now....What other questions do you guys have about Clinical Rotations in the UK???





Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Residency Interview Season & The MATCH




Long time, no see!
I know, my poor blog has been neglected.  I'm trying to figure out who's been reading recently even though I haven't posted anything lately, hmmmm.

I think I have a decent enough reason to have neglected my blog for a little while...I've been away interviewing for a Residency job!

Over the weekend, a family friend asked how come I haven't updated my blog recently, so since someone is reading, figured that was as good of a reason as any to give an update on what's been happening in my crazy world. 

I have been totally out of touch and actively avoiding almost everything that didn't have to do with job searching and school.  Feels like my entire life has been put on hold.  Wait, honestly, I should be used to that feeling because it's been almost a constant companion since I started Med School!  I think I've been actively avoiding anything that I didn't absolutely HAVE to do. Kind of wishing I could avoid the mandatory things as well haha. 

Back to this job search thing...It's a long, arduous & expensive process! 
The application period opened in July, I submitted apps in September, and interview season is usually October thru February. 

Submitting the applications cost me thousands of dollars...YES, THOUSANDS! As a IMG (International Medical Graduate--a US resident who attends medical school in another country), we often apply to more Residency Programs than US Grads.   Some people/programs still have a negative view of foreign trained doctors. In years past, there were a lot of foreign medical schools that weren't up to par.  However, in the last 30 or so years, many International schools have stepped up their game. They have obtained equivalency to US Med school standards and they are producing high quality physicians.  This doesn't quite matter in many circles because once something is in someone's head, it's very hard to change their minds.  But slowly ideas have been changing as programs interact with these students/doctors and they realize most of us are hard workers that can hold our own next to a US student.  It's a systemic issue, but I digress...

Because of this warped way of thinking, IMG's are often forced to apply to many more programs than US students in order to get enough residency interviews to be able to MATCH. That's another one of these nebulous ideas that many normal humans can't contemplate. MATCH for us means applying to a ton of residency programs, interviewing, then ranking each program you interview at, electronically submitting this list to a central organization who then has some sophisticated computer algorithm that collates every students lists-- compares them with how the various programs rank students, and then the computer spits out a "match".  Sounds ridiculously confusing right?!?! It's crazy! Most people think if you apply and interview for a job, if the company likes you and you like them, they can offer you a job and you can choose to accept or not. This process is nothing like that. What's in our control? Submitting a strong application, presenting our best selves to the interviewers, and seeing how well we mesh with the current people in each program.  Despite this, it feels like your fate for the next 3-7 years is up to a COMPUTER. In many ways that's the case. In many ways it's not. But in the end, the computer decides where you will train with input from us and the programs.
  

Between Nov and Jan I interviewed with Family Medicine programs across the USA. All of my interviews are finished--thank goodness! I've submitted my Rank List & now I just wait....

I have 7 weeks and 3 days left of school!!! I'm close to being finished but I also realize how much I still just don't know!!!! Residency will be the time when things will really start to come together. We will really learn to be doctors in our chosen fields. Right now I'm still in a bubble of no real responsibility but that will all change in a few months so I'll enjoy this time while I can.

Oh! Did I mention that MATCH DAY isn't until March? You see how I just left you hanging about Match Day for a minute? That's how we feel for weeks. 
This year, it's Monday, March 13th. That's the day you find out IF you Matched. Then Friday, March 17th you find out WHERE you Matched. They love keeping us on edge! My nerves can't take too much more of this. 

So that's my story of why I've been MIA. But now I'm around, sort of...
I'm super anxious about MATCH DAY.  We've worked so hard over the last 8+ Years (11 for me bc I have a Masters degree thrown in the mix as well). Now I'm just waiting for March 13, 2017.  Those of us that applied are hopeful the fruits of our labor have paid off with a coveted Residency placement. Please continue sending positive vibes that everything will work out just fine!


Until next time...   

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Uganda Pics!!!

Hey everyone!!!

Going to Uganda was a life changing trip for me. So many things have been put into perspective and so many stereotypes, preconceived notions, and false truths were tossed on their head.  The country was beautiful, the people were amazing, and the experience was priceless.  

Here are some pics!

Scenes from our village, ACCESS Campus, living quarters & host family:





































































Luganda Language Lessons with Irene
























Community Outreach-
Family Planning Education & Placing Birth Control Implants; Visiting Village Healthcare Team & Residents
















































































Hospital 


































































































































































































































Safari-Murchison Falls, Nile River, Jinja