“I am tired of knowing nothing and being reminded of it all the time.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Four core rotations down. Three more to go. Today marks my second week of clinical duties on the psychiatric ward. It’d be a lie to say I’m not nervous about this rotation in particular. I mentioned some of my anxiety to one of my colleagues today and he responded: “oh c’mon, Ajibike, you’re always nervous at the start of a new rotation.” To an extent, he is right. There’s an overwhelming sense of I know nothing that accompanies the start of each rotation. It seems as though the moment when I feel comfortable on a new service is exactly when it is time for me to move onto a new team.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love F. Scott Fitzgerald. Many of his works are fixtures in my list of favorite novels. When I stumbled upon this quote, I knew it would serve as an honest introduction for this post. This quote = mood.

MS3 is the year during which you amass a ton of clinical knowledge.

MS3 is the year during which you learn to not “sweat the small stuff.”

A MS4 told me at the start of my MS3 year that I should be prepared for moments when 150% effort will be rewarded with an evaluation that reads: “Good student.” She told me that it’s important to hold learning the art and practice of medicine as my main priority rather than impressing attending and resident physicians. Unsurprisingly, I followed her advice with: “Okay…I hear what you’re saying but what can I do to be a good medical student.”

She gave me three pieces of advice that I still find incredibly valuable:

1. Know your place.

2. Take ownership of responsibilities related to your patient(s).

3. Present well.

What does it mean to present well? Each discipline has their own twist on the history & physical or SOAP note…but at the end of the day, a good presentation is: concise, thorough, and accurate.

The major 🗝 to a good presentation is: organization. On my first couple of clerkships I made my own templates to record information on each of my patients. I also toted around an myriad of documents (physical exam maneuvers listed and described and an extensive review of systems). On each team, I learned what my attending wanted from me and adjusted my presentations accordingly.

I felt a lot of pressure when I started my pediatrics rotation. I came into medical school with an interest in pediatrics and so when the rotation rolled around, I wanted to impress my attendings. At that time, I got my hands on a Perfect H&P notebook.

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This notebook fits in a white coat pocket and is affordable – only $15 guys! The notebook supplanted all of the documents I was carrying around in my pockets. I’ll talk a little bit about how the notebook is constructed in a moment. I will say that this notebook is perfect for wards work. Sure, certain disciplines may require a bit more material on topics not specifically mentioned in the notebook. I’d say that this notebook is a great organizing tool for internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and pediatrics. I can’t speak to neurology or OB/GYN as I haven’t completed those rotations yet. I will say that I don’t think the notebook is as helpful for psychiatry.

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The template has checkboxes for basically ALL the physical examination findings and symptoms (for review of systems) you could possibly want. I will say that the section for laboratory results is on the small side.

One aspect that I really appreciated is the sect ion for differential diagnosis. On so many rotations, I haven’t been required to present my differential for each aspect of the problem list. That’s honestly been a disservice to my education but I’ve found that  forcing myself to think of a differential (of at least 3) has helped me to present more sound assessments and plans.

I’m hooked on this notebook and I fully intend to pick up another one before I start my sub-I in June!

If you guys have tips and tricks for presenting on the wards, I’d love to see them in the comments below!

Disclosure: Perfect H & P provided this notebook for free to be reviewed on this blog. All opinions are my own. 

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“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” – Melody Beattie

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Happy New Year! My hope is that all of you have an amazing 2016 filled with love, happiness, adventure, and unforgettable moments. If you’re anything like me, you see the start of the new year as a moment to reflect, grow, and become a better person. I love making (keeping few, breaking some) resolutions. I make resolutions at the top of the year (which I reevaluate at the start of each month), prior to the start of Lent, and on my birthday.

As some of you faithful readers probably would have guessed, I have a system for making resolutions. I start with five categories — academics, personal health, faith, passion projects, and relationships — and make 1-2 goals per category. In short, these resolutions push me toward finding more balance in my life.

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“Punishment has become the social fabric of everyday life.” – Victor Rios

on my radar

Before I launch into the subject matter of this post, I just want to make a quick comment on the recent decisions made by SCOTUS. As a physician-in-training, I recognize that my career in medicine does not operate outside the realm of politics. It is not only the legislation regarding healthcare (such as the recent Affordable Care Act decision) that is relevant but also the other major decisions such as (1) fair housing, (2) marriage equality, and (3) clean air — decision is pending.

The legal fabric of our society gravely impacts the quality of life of our future patients and thereby their health status. It’s important, as our patients’ advocate, for us to care about politics; for us to speak up for equality (in whatever form that comes). I’m proud of my country.

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“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” — William Faulkner

Happy Fourth of July!

Okay, it appears that my last update was about  my move to New Orleans. Wow, I’ve been pretty absent. So to start, I’ll share with all of you what I’ve been up to since I moved into town.

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On My Radar

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Once I turned in the last final of my undergraduate career, I delved into the world of the New York Times, The Washington PostTime, and of course Vogue. What they say is true–Princeton is the Orange Bubble and I (and I may be an extreme case) was not particularly engaged in the outer world. From time to time, I’d like to share articles and social media gems from the week that I found interesting; perhaps you’ll enjoy them as well!

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“Or we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.” ― Christina Yang

I want to start by providing the entire quote: “Whenever we think we know the future, even for a second, it changes. Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely. And we’re left only with the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there, trembling, not moving, assuming the worst that can happen. Or we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.” ― Christina Yang  (hands down: best character from Grey’s Anatomy).

I am currently in a state of recovery. Those of you who watch Grey’s Anatomy know what I mean; Christina Yang left Seattle Grace, her person (Meredith), and the love of her life in an effort to advance her career at a developing medical research center in Switzerland. As an individual who loves Christina’s character (I respect her charisma, her intellect, and her resolve), I was sad to see this character exit the scene only ten seasons after I became a fan. I do have to say, her exit was perfectly orchestrated and the quote, which inspired this post, stuck with me. The future is both nerve-wracking and exciting. Yesterday, I shared some of the reasons why I am beyond excited to be an MD/MPH candidate at Tulane School of Medicine. It would be unfair to claim that I never had reservations. I have thought of myself as the East Coast type, born in the right city (NYC) but raised in the wrong state (Louisiana). And so, I applied to many East Coast medical schools in addition to many Southern schools, in an attempt to be closer home. Then, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted and now, I have faith that the decision to be closer to home is the right one.

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“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skin in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson

Spontaneous is not the first adjective that my friends would use to describe me. I toe the line between fun-loving and responsible; spontaneity falls outside of my comfort zone. I have known this about myself for a long time and I don’t think these attributes are necessarily bad, but this quote has been making its way back to me a lot this week.

Yesterday I woke up at 7AM and reworked my resume. Before, I had a plain, one-page resume, with Times New Roman size 10 font (it’s actually not difficult to read) which details a few work-related experiences from high school in addition to my college experience. Of course, I cut out most of my extracurricular activities (Princeton Premedical Society and Her Campus Princeton) for my abbreviated/creative resume. When I looked over my work-related experiences from tenth grade until now, I realized how much time (and free time) I dedicated to preparation for what comes next. As an eleventh grader, I was the social media campaign head for a new company. I spent my free time writing newsletter, tweeting, writing articles, conducting market research, and connecting the CEO with like-minded corporations. That’s strange. It was a great opportunity and I greatly enhanced my skill set, but the truth of the matter is that: I haven’t taken a summer off (entirely) since the summer after sixth grade and I think that’s incredibly unhealthy.

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